Suburban Zombie, or: The Decay of the Mind (2012)

Description (from the filmmaker):
A zombie sits in a dark shed watching TV. He is content with life; smoking cigarettes and drinking booze, while mindlessly flipping through the television channels. However, what happens when the media stranglehold on him is broken and the mindless garbage being played on the TV turns to static?

Major Cast:
Gareth “Rtilary” Jones as The Zombie, Huw Jones as Mysterious Stranger #1, Claire Hyde as Mysterious Stranger #2

Special Features:
None (Online Screener)

Written and Directed by Evan Jones

One of the things I really enjoy about low- and no-budget cinema is the freedom it allows filmmakers. With films that have an end goal (profit), there are limitations on what you can expect. Sure, there are those talented filmmakers that can make a film that can make money and also have an underlying point / be a piece of art / do something completely unexpected / etc., but they are few and far between. In the microbudget world, the greatest asset that comes from a lack of money is a preponderance of creative control. SUBURBAN ZOMBIE, OR: THE DECAY OF THE MIND is a great example of complete creative control. It’s a movie, with a point, that is abstract, and more than any other “profit-limiting” factor, the whole flick is only one minute long!

Mind control metods of the average zombie: nicotine, alcohol, and television
Mind control metods of the average zombie: nicotine, alcohol, and television

Really: how much can you do in one minute? Let’s be honest: not a lot. There’s just not much filmmaking that can be fit into a one-minute film, so my aspirations for SZoTDotM were pretty low overall. The first time I watched it, I thought to myself “what the hell do I do with that?” Upon re-reading the description of the film and watching it again, it clicked a bit better for me. I got the first time this is a social satire; obviously we (society) are brainwashed by TV in general, and checmical consumption doesn’t help. That was about all I got. The second time around, I got a little more out of it; I really liked that the main character IS the zombie, and he is released from the grip when the TV cuts out. He tries to destroy that link by destroying the delivery device of the brainwashing, then ventures outside for what may be the first time. Unfortunately for him (us), they are waiting outside, watching as he steps out of his box, and quickly force him back into complacence. Kinda deep for just a minute long, I do have to say.

We're Mysterious.  There's nothing to see out here.  Go back inside.
We’re Mysterious. There’s nothing to see out here. Go back inside.

The production quality is good overall. SZoTDotM is shot in 1080 HD, and the video quality is crisp. The lighting within the box works just fine, and outside is natural light so it also works. There is not a lot of time for camera play, so the composition of the shots overall is pretty plain; not bad, but not particularly interesting either. SZoTDotM pretty much just presents its story straightforward and lets you do with it what you want, and in one minute there’s not time for much else… though a nice off-kilter camera angle or 70’s style zoom for dramatic effect wouldn’t have hurt. The one thing that was done to make the visuals a bit less vanilla was the use of a few effects; I liked the fisheye that was placed on the shot of the strangers, but the “old timey flicker” that is over the entire film just looks crappy. That grindhouse film grain flicker effect really looks dated and played out on just about everything it is used on, unless it is used very sparingly, or used by someone that takes a ton of time to make sure that it looks very authentic (and the flicker on SZoTDotM looks very iMovie). The sound design (no dialogue) is nice, and I liked the “music?” once the strangers arrived, it felt very natural and fitting to the overall mood of the piece.

Who is watching whom?
Who is watching whom?

Overall, I was a lot more impressed with SZoTDotM than I thought I would (or could) be. It is what it is: a one-minute movie, but in its one minute of running time it accomplishes more than some movies you could go see in the theaters. Well, maybe not, but it sure as hell tries, and is more entertaining doing so.

Overall 6 / 10

SZoTDotM is not on the IMDb.

SZoTDotM is not for sale.

SZoTDotM site: http://youtu.be/xBt3QI_KqNw

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