Wayward Soul

My friend Danial made a movie about what happens after a zombie uprising. You can watch it here, and I ask you to keep in mind that he developed the concept and shot the film in five hours, which is a pretty impressive feat. Some of his reviewers were a little more harsh than they needed to be, I think.

The film is part of a competition called “On the Lot,” which is going to pit 16 film makers against each other, reality TV style. I hope he makes it in…it would be neat to see Danial’s work develop!

The film certainly has some flaws: he does, for example, struggle with composition in the monologue scenes, and the actor’s eyes do sort of disappear at a couple of points. You could, however, view this as an intentionally dehumanizing choice, as the main character becomes less and less human the longer the conversation goes on. Yes, a large pole does enter the scene towards the end…and it is highly distracting, but…perhaps it serves some greater yellow metaphor, which I missed entirely.

I also liked how Danial made the best of a bad scene with his lighting. The movie is dark and gloomy, because it is about a dark and gloomy subject, but he used changes in lighting levels to highlight, as it were, certain important aspects of the film. The camera work is pretty steady and crisp, and if you view the peculiar compositional choices as intentional, I think that you will find the movie makes a lot more sense to you, falling together in a new way. Think outside the box—literally.

He also used music in a very…interesting way. I dig it.

It is interesting to theorize about what life might be like if zombies rose and took over: somehow, I suspect it would be more like this film than like the Hollywood extravaganzas with guns blazing and hard eyed heroes.

Danial describes the movie as being about a man in a conversation with another man, but it seems more like a conversation with God. Perhaps it’s the deep, echoing voice, or the fact that we do not see the actor’s conversation partner until the end…but it seems like a quiet respite, a moment of consideration about what is happening in his world. Perhaps the conversation partner is God, in the guise of a zombie. Or the Devil?

One of the critics pointed out that the actor appears to be smiling, especially in the second half of the film, which could be a break of character or an enrichment, depending on how much you want to read into the film. The character seems to be growing more and more unhinged as the conversation progresses…perhaps the conversation is the first one he has had in years, and the first time he has even stopped to consider the sort of person he is turning into.

I think it’s an excellent beginning, a stark little film that reduces us to the sum of our parts.

[Wayward Soul]
[On the Lot]