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Stalled – 5

Director – Christian James

Cast – Dan Palmer, Antonia Bernath, Tamaryn Payne, Mark Holden, Giles Alderson, Sarah Suzanne Biggins, Victoria Broom

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

After coming across the storyline for Stalled I knew this was a film I just had to see. It is not often that we see creative ideas in the convoluted zombie sub-genre, so based on that I went into this experience hoping the creativity would pay off. While Stalled provides some good laughs and gives us a premise we can all place ourselves into, the execution was a bit bland and never hit like it could have.

While working during his company’s annual Christmas party, W.C, the firm’s janitor, finds himself trapped in the women’s restroom when an all-out zombie attack plagues the building.

Let us be real here. I am pretty sure every one of us has used a public restroom at one point, and imagine the horror of being a man in a women’s restroom stall, realizing the seriousness of your mistake when a group of pretty ladies comes in to do their business. Then, imagine how much worse the situation becomes when the living dead enter the restroom and leave you cooped up in your stall as your only way of survival. With a story like this I was really hoping to get a good experience, especially with its use of the nowhere-to-run scenario that I enjoy so much. Nearly the entire film takes place inside the women’s restroom, which in turn leaves W.C stuck in the stall as well. He is not alone though, and makes a friend who just so happens to be stuck in the men’s restroom and in the same situation. This helps to keep things interesting and writer Dan Palmer (who also stars in the film as W.C) throws in a few twists and turns to keep things fun. The laughs are enjoyable, although I did not find myself laughing as many times as I expected to. As far as the horror we get plenty of kills and most of them come in gory fashion as well, and with the nowhere-to-run scenario the ante is upped. At times the story does feel a bit bland and slow, and this was worsened when I realized neither of the two main characters were interesting and worth caring for.

Director Christian James did an OK job executing this piece, which involved very few sets and depended heavily on the story to keep things interesting. He sets things up well and creates good atmosphere when W.C finds himself stuck in the women’s restroom stall. The initial scenes were fun and he provided good execution of the humor, which at times left me literally laughing out loud. James’ execution of the horror was fair, giving us some good zombie action that provided great kills and live-action gore. The look of the zombies was OK and naturally most of them were in cocktail attire given the Christmas party. It is obvious that the film is of a lower budget origin, and it does show at times with the film’s visual quality. At times it looks cheap and that may turn off some viewers who are used to films with a better production. Much like the writing, I felt that the direction could have been much better, but overall James did a fairly positive job when it came to the elements that matter most: horror and gore.

Overall, Stalled is a sometimes fun flick that offers a pretty unique premise to the zombie sub-genre. It starts off well but falls very flat in the middle and its final act never regains what it lost. If you have nothing better to watch then I’d say to give this a go and form your own opinion, but I would not put this over other efforts that you have more faith in.

Rating: 5/10

…Additional Stills…

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