Colin (2008)
By: Sam Bowron on January 5, 2012  | 
Monster Pictures | Region 4, PAL | 4:3 | English DD 5.1 | 97 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Marc Price
Starring: Alastair Kirton, Daisy Aitkens, Kate Alderman, Leanne Pammen, Tat Whalley
Screenplay: Marc Price
Country: UK
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For a horror movie climate that has literally been eaten alive by the undead, it has become near impossible for any filmmaker working today to come at the subgenre with fresh pair of eyes. Almost everything has been done – from traditional ghouls (The Walking Dead) to the ultra-fast runners (Dawn of the Dead remake) to the sympathetic (Fido) and even the homosexual (L.A Zombie). As evidenced from these and many more titles every fanboy has taken at least one cue from George Romero, however there still remains a willingness to break free from the mould and find new and exciting ways to tell stories centered around one of cinema's most beloved movie monsters.

Speaking of new and exciting, what if there was a zombie flick told from the zombie's point of view? What if an audience were to be cinematically privy to the apocalypse, not through the eyes of those battling the undead but through the cannibalistic mouth of one unfortunate rigor mortis sufferer? What's more, how did anybody not think of this before?! Writer-director Marc Price's micro budget indie debut Colin takes full advantage of this idea and, to the credit of everyone involved, creates arguably one of the most ferociously innovative and daring zombie movies of the last ten years.

The film opens with a zombie attack inside a suburban home inhabited by a seemingly lone young man named Colin (Alastair Kirton). After a series of blows to the head with a kitchen knife he manages to kill the ghoul, however not without enduring a hefty bite to the neck in the process. Overnight, Colin transitions from the world of the living to the world of the undead and begins wandering the streets of London in search of human flesh. In his travels he comes into contact with his sister, Linda (Daisy Aitkens) who manages to capture Colin and bring him back to their parent's house in the hope he'll recall his human identity. Needless to say, things don't go quite according to plan…

Right from the bloody get-go, Colin establishes itself as a bare bones living dead tale determined to do things differently. One thing the audience is made to grasp from the outset is the alternate mind state with which the film adopts in order to tell its story, a narrative choice that not only supplies the filmmakers with the opportunity to put a new twist on a tired formula but one that also offers potential insight into the mind of a monster (or what's left of a mind for that matter). While no great detail is ever learned about Colin or what kind of a person he was prior to his transformation, Price makes a very conscientious effort to portray - through the depiction of the family - a believable portrait of a terminally affected group of people on the brink of self destruction after having lost almost everything in the wake of a society gone mad.

This personalization helps keep an otherwise potentially predictable scenario from becoming just another undead slog, as the films' very nature refuses to placate the complacency of most other zombie films (i.e., lone pack of survivors seeking refuge, standard slaughter, deaths among the group, military intervention, etc). Kirton delivers the goods in a central performance that not only carries the film dramatically but also assists in the overall aesthetic, Colin's progressively degenerating state of mind further emphasizing the increasingly oppressive mood embodied by the world around him. Supporting turns by Aikens and Tat Whalley as a friend of the victimized family are also notable for their impressive commitment to the material.

While Colin is ultimately a mood piece, let it be known that it also has more than its fare share of brutal bloodshed as well, featuring many FX that put more higher-budgeted fare to shame. Brain drilling, head crushing, impalement, disembowelment – even teeth removal are featured on the menu here and all are beautifully nasty and well-executed, including the minimalistic zombie makeup. During the action sequences the handheld camerawork, while at times painfully nauseating and creatively restrictive, is fast, kinetic and unrelenting and compliments the somewhat cut-and-paste nature of the effects. Price also displays deft photographic restraint whenever the film slows into its quieter moments by allowing his characters to be the primary focus within the frame.

There is a true independent spirit to Colin that you'd be a fool to ignore. It's a film made with both inherent passion and a need to keep pushing the integrity of the genre further, all the while making sure to pay respect to its predecessors in the process. Low and micro budget filmmaking is more common now than ever, yet sadly many commendable projects never manage to land a distribution deal adequate to their needs. Thanks to local brand Monster Pictures, however this is one little title more than worthy of your time and money.
Considering Colin was shot on a decade-old Panasonic standard-def MiniDV camera in a 4:3 aspect ratio, the picture quality is rather abysmal to say the least. Grain is clearly evident, the colors are murky, the blacks are rarely black…the list goes on. With that said, these imperfections were all a creative decision on behalf of Price and co and for that reason alone the disc is made tolerable. Just don't expect to be wowed by pretty pictures too often.
Presented in a Dolby 5.1 mix (albeit limited in scope given the source material) the audio manages to scrape up rather nicely, however sonically imperfect it may be. The majority of the soundtrack is made up of unholy grunting and growling accompanied by a somber score and rarely – if ever – does it stray far from that. Then again, this is the end of the world we're talking about.
Extra Features
Delivering the grisly goods once again, Monster Pictures have provided fans with a more than adequate package here. Included on the disc is a terrific 39-minute making of featurette that is quite simply the antithesis of every major Hollywood EPK in existence, detailing every nitty gritty detail of the production and how the filmmakers miraculously managed to pull off a feature length movie for a reported $75 (!). There's also an entertaining and insightful commentary track with Price who delves into the ins and outs of micro budget filmmaking and finally a handful of mildly interesting deleted scenes with optional commentary. This is what every home release of an independent film should aspire to in the features department. Excellent stuff.
The Verdict
While far from the greatest zombie film ever made, Colin earns major points for possessing a genuine independent resilience and having the balls to stand out amongst the pack - attributes most other films in the genre rarely strive to attain.
Movie Score
Disc Score
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