There was something particularly haunting about director Michael Ballif’s short film “Two Hours” when I was finished. I have seen short zombie films over and over in the course of three years, but “2 Hours” manages to achieve a certain morbid and disturbing nature to it that will stick with viewers long after the credits have rolled. Shot on an apparently small budget that’s defined as “no budget” over the course of two years, director Michael Ballif manages to paint an interesting post-apocalyptic world based around the walking dead.
And while there are no shortage of films about the zombie apocalypse, “2 hours” is different in the sense that it approaches the zombie virus as something of a spiritual re-awakening and re-incarnation of a sorts. The main character, a nameless man shrouded in cloaks and a mask, spends most of his time thinking back to the death and zombification of his wife, while fighting his way through the land. When he’s bitten by a zombie, he rushes across the land to find the cure for his wound and only has two hours to do so. During the course of the film, he spends most of it thinking back to his simpler times, and fighting off the hordes of the dead. All the while, he struggles to maintain his health and mental stability in the face of the ever growing strength of this infection that plagues his blood.
While “2 Hours” succeeds in being a creepy and effective zombie short, the caveat is the often verbose narration that over explains every situation. Not to mention the acting for said narration leaves much to be desired. The narrator often seemed to be reaching for a dramatic effect, and could never quite hit a convincing note as this tortured man, thus it becomes occasionally distracting to sit through. “2 Hours” never falters in its goals as a new approach to the virus, granting its protagonist a view on the infection that’s rarely ever covered in film. The after credits scene really seals the deal for the story and serves as a grim resolution. Michael Ballif’s short zombie film is flawed with some rather stiff and stilted narration, but manages to become a compelling and creepy bit of zombie fiction, with grisly imagery, an interesting story, and a unique take on becoming the walking dead.