With the rise of the zombie sub-genre, every filmmaker and their brother have their own story to tell. With zombie media at an all time high in popularity, there are an abundance interesting approaches toward the zombie sub-genre. And unfortunately there are also countless forgettable attempts. Immediately, “Chronicles of the Dead” from 3N films is under pressure to perform outside the norm and offer a form of zombie fiction that is entertaining and unique. “Chronicles of the Dead” so far has potential in the range of tone, atmosphere, and direction, it just has to now step up its game and provide us with a story that we can get behind. With only episode one to judge on, the series can go anywhere at this point. We may end up with a web version of “The Walking Dead,” or we could end up with a web version of “Night of the Dead.”
I can’t properly decide if I like the series or not based on the seven minute first episode, but I did decide that I liked where the creative team’s heads were. The first episode “Apocalypse” doesn’t really establish characters so much as acting as a prologue for what I can hope is an epic narrative with interesting characters. The dead have risen. The world is in turmoil. Most of the population are food for the undead. That’s the basic set up. The why, and the how will hopefully be further explored, but the first episode is mainly a taste of what we’re in for. Thankfully, director Brian Hernandez opens on a subtle note with the skewed camera shot of a female zombie lumbering past a parked car. Inside the car is an unfortunate young woman who is perched between the driver’s seat and passenger’s seat hiding from the onslaught of the dead only inches away from her outside the car.
Too petrified to even run for her life, we spend most of the episode watching as she crouches down in the car watching the dead shamble past her oblivious to her presence, as she whimpers and struggles to restrain all urge to scream. The zombie effects are fantastic with the zombies actually presenting their own unique injuries and individual forms of decay. Too often independent zombie productions turn the walking dead in to stock monsters, while this first episode seems to strive to add legitimate menace to the dead. The entirety of the episode shows the young girl (as played competently by Anastasia Leddick) struggling to maintain her sanity inside the confines of her car. She drifts off to sleep during the night, and anxiously considers running outside when she sees a helicopter shining its beams down within the war zone of the dead. When she finally does opt to make a run for it, things take a turn for the disastrous as one would predict.
Seriously, where can one run where the streets are teeming with the walking dead? “Chronicles of the Dead” opts for realism as much as possible, providing stark footage of the zombie apocalypse, with wonderful establishing shots of the dead looming in the shadows. “Chronicles of the Dead” has a lot to live up to, and I hope it can deliver some meaty zombie sub-genre entertainment. It’s very possible to deliver unique zombie fiction in a market saturated with it. Just look at “The Dead,” “Rammbock,” or the novel “World War Z,” or “Rise of the Governor.” It can be done. It’s all a matter of thinking outside the box and offering something we have never seen before. And even if you can’t deliver something original, you can at least offer us the same old but entertaining and interesting. Again, it has been done. I’m rooting for 3N Films to give us something we can remember for a long time.
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