One Ms. Diora Baird takes on the mantle of Hottie for the Day from one Irina Voronina. Ms. Baird was first discovered as a model while doing side jobs while trying to break into acting. It was during one of these side jobs that she someone saw her and thus her modeling career began. She became the a Guess? model pretty quickly. Landing spreads and covers at magazines such as FHM, Maxim and the like helped move her modeling career forward but it wasn’t until landing the cover of Playboy Magazine‘s August 2005 issue that she really got noticed. It wasn’t too long until she became an Elite Modeling Agency model.
Ms. Baird could easily have kept to modeling but she continued with her dream to break into the entertainment industry as an actress. In between modeling gigs she landed roles in small films. Usually they were comedies and horror films like Wedding Crashers and Brain Blockers. Her big break came when she was cast as one of the main characters in the prequel to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. In 2010 she’s to be seen as Lily Thompson in the remake of the horror cult-classic, Night of the Demons.
“Plague is a Horror short focusing on an isolated journey into the unknown. We follow Vilhelm, an illegal migrant and gun runner, who is trying to make a new beginning.
When he arrives in London, The dead rise and consume the living. can Vilhelm escape the bloodbath?”
Thus describes the premise for a fine of a short indie film by Australian filmmaker Matt Simpson. Plague has a running time of just over 17 minutes, but in that brief time he has crafted a well-made zombie short film. When I first heard of this film I was hesistant to check it out since I’ve been fooled and burned in the past about so-called great zombie short films done by aspiring filmmakers on a shoestring-to-no budget.
I finally decided to watch it and I am definitely kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Matt Simpson’s Plague is one of the best indepedent horror short film I’ve seen in quite awhile. Done on a very minuscule budget the film definitely looks like it was a labor of love from a filmmaker who knows the zombie subgenre and respects its traditions and trappings. Despite the shoestring budget this filmmaker deftly avoids giving his film that amateur home video appearance that seem to plague (no pun intended) most short films. The way this film was shot and edited tells me that Matt Simpson has a future as a filmmaker if he decides to continue on that path.
The story is pretty simple with dialogue kept at a minimum. Most voice-over use in films usually don’t come off well and seems to be more of a narrative gimmick to hide inadequate performances from the cast. This time around the use of the voice-over makes sense since there’s only one speaking role and the rest zombies through most of the film. There’s two scenes where some dialogue between characters were required but they were handled well and fit the scenes. Joseph Avery who plays the role of Vilhelm doesn’t do the voice-over but instead left to one Costa Ronin who gives a very good reading with a Slavic accent without making it too heavy.
A zombie short film can’t be a zombie film without showing some zombies and the requisite gore the subgenre requires. The make-up effects on the zombies and the damage done to their victims does not look like amateur-hour. Most zombie short films use white paint, some heavy mascara around and eyes and maybe some whipped up blood to simulate a zombie. Simpson actually took the time to create zombie make-up effect appliances and uses enough of it to make the zombies look believable. While not all the effects work was perfect they were all done well enough to hide the “strings” so to speak.
All in all, Plague is a gem of a find in the dregs of most zombie short films which infests the internet. While the film still shows some growing pains for this aspiring filmmaker he does have a handle on not just the flow of storytelling, but in the editing process which assists in pulling the narrative together. Even the greatest screenplay could end up becoming a bad film when employing a bad editor and/or editing process. I hope that Mr. Simpson continues to hone his craft and finds a way to have his talent discovered by studio heads looking for the next young director to mentor.
PLAGUE – OFFICIAL SCREENER from Matt Simpson on Vimeo.