I really didn’t know what to expect when I received the screener of DAYPLANNER OF THE DEAD, a 17 minute mini-zombie film. These independent creations really can go either way; thankfully more often than not lately it seems that they are going in a positive direction with great writing and creative film-making.
Here is the thing about zombie films…they have been done to death (excuse the pun). The funny thing is, they are more popular than ever with no sign of letting up. I know I haven’t grown tired of zombies yet. There are many components and back stories that make zombie movies interesting. First off, what caused them. Second, why do they eat us. Third, what is the most efficient way to kill them?
General consensus states that a satellite re-entering earth’s atmosphere with some kind of alien radiation is what caused the zombie apocalypse (though other back stories have been explored, to mixed results). In George Romero’s classic DAY OF THE DEAD it was explained that the undead do what they do on instinct, especially when it comes to eating people. Thanks to Logan’s experiments it is explained that they don’t eat for nutrition so it has to be instinct and habit. Of course if this was true, wouldn’t the zombie us, on instinct, seek out the local fast food restaurant or grocery store? Finally, the tried and true way to kill a zombie is a bullet to the head or, if you don’t have a gun, to simply remove the head from the body.
In DAYPLANNER OF THE DEAD, the zombie mythos is taken into a new direction, similar to the “zombies eat us on instinct” explanation. In this mini-movie, it is explained by the movies male lead Michael Manning (played convincingly by Dean Vanderkolk) that zombies eat people because they are bored. Once again this is a connection to the living us, as we all tend to stuff our faces when we are bored. It is an interesting concept that leads to an even more interesting way of not getting eaten by the zombie hoards.
If the zombies are bored, then entertain them! Just like Romero’s zombies who sought out the shopping mall because it was familiar, Manning entertains the zombies here, preoccupying their need to eat us. He puts on magic shows and even screens movies like the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD for them. Because of these efforts, he can co-exist with the zombies, never feeling threatened that he may become their next meal. It is a fun twist on the zombie genre and one that is worth checking out.
Everyone here does a great job with their characters, whether it is Vanderkolk as Manning, Lauren Mae Shafer who plays Suzanne, the only other living person in the film, or the countless people who play the zombies. They never take themselves too seriously and there are some great sight gags but at the same time, things manage to have a slight believability to it. It was nice to see actress Kyra Schon, playing Zombie Kyra complete with trowel, somewhat reprising her role as Karen Cooper from Romero’s 1968 masterpiece.
Check this offering out. It is fun and a great entry in zombiedom. Less is more is the recipe of the day here and the 17 minute running time is perfect. DAYPLANNER OF THE DEAD would be a great film to add to a night of zombie-movie watching to help break up multiple films and at the same time, it stands very well on its own. For more information on this fun film, check out their official Facebook page HERE! You can order your very own copy by going HERE and you can also check out the Grindley Studios Facebook page by going HERE!