I Zombie (1998)

Director/Writer/Producer: Andrew Parkinson.
Starring. Giles Aspen, Ellen Softley. UK. 1h 18m.

For this debut feature film writer/director/producer Andrew Parkinson has come up with a personal and cruelly dark mockumentary detailing the demise of a single man from a zombie virus.

The mockumentary opens with a woman talking about the disappearance of her ex-boyfriend Mark in past tense, the restarts with mark coming home to Sarah who’s making the finishing touches to her event, which Mark regretfully has to skip to collect samples, the couple argue and the scene ends, Mark is then seen trekking through a wooded area, the botanist is searching for moss samples (slime mould I’d imagine) when he stumble on a decaying station wagon intrigued he follows another path and eventually finds an abandoned agricultural building . He enters and explores the rooms when he finds an injured man leaned up against the wall, hearing a female scream he rushes in to help, finding a decaying woman having a seizure on a rotten mattress he tries to pick her up to get her to safety but she bites his neck, he drops her and rushes into the forest.

Meanwhile Sarah calls an investigator as Mark has been missing for three weeks. He awakes in the forest disorientated and lost, he stumbles into town recollecting that he has killed and eaten a hiker. Afraid of what he done he uses his savings to rent a new apartment on the other side of town, living on a tiny budget he buys a recorder and starts to document his transformation into a zombie.

It’s a brilliant little film, made with a very limited budget and crafted with love and dedication by Andrew Parkinson, the cast of 2 main actors and a handful of extras is really emotive, tugging on all the heart and head strings. Mark is quite with it early on in the movie, analysing everything with his scientific mind-set.

At first he lures people into the apartment or goes out to hunt and kills humanely mostly with the use of chloroform, but as he begins to deteriorate both mentally and physically his monstrous nature takes over and he begins to kill with more savagery.

There is a constant monologue from Mark as he goes about his day to day (new) life and personal discoveries, jacking off to his girlfriend’s pictures and trying to work out how long he can go before he needs to consume flesh. It’s a simple concept which has been executed within the limits of it’s budgets but to a fans perfection. When horror is made for horror fans it’s a very different experience, it’s a pleasure to see someone going all out and at least trying with effects. As Mark’s journey continues his body starts to break down he runs into a similar problem to the main character from Halley (2012) and suddenly jacking off isn’t as much fun anymore, there’s another brilliant scene when his legs breaks and he has to saw at it and mend it with a metal rod, this DIY body repair and the continuous breakdown really gores up the final scenes.

It’s a little conflicting as Mark is a zombie and there’s a morbid fascination to be in the mind of someone changing into the undead, but this isn’t the animalistic death obsessed diary of a creature, Mark is a thinking feeling person who’s struggling, even though he’s a ghoul with his words you really want to mother him and help him find a cure and in the final few scenes runs very similar to Thanatomorphose (2012) after the mental break down all that’s left is for the body to diminish, but Mark still has a choice.

It’s quite a personal movie, mostly due to the budget but there is no mention of an actual zombie outbreak, instead this is just an internal “oh shit” diary that takes a long hard look at the emotional breakdown of a single man but speaks for us all. Incredibly deep, at times truly comical and a masterful addition to Zombie cinema.

 

Rating 6/10

RHalley (2012), The Fly (1986), Thanatomorphose (2012)
L – Self Documented Transformations, Films the make me cry
Vs – Halley vs I Zombie

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