DVD Review – Stalled (2013)

Stalled, 2013.

Directed by Christian James.
Starring Dan Palmer, Antonia Bernath and Tamaryn Payne.

SYNOPSIS:

A janitor gets trapped in a women’s restroom and encounters an all-out attack by a horde of zombies.

It’s Christmas Eve, and the office party is in full swing. Unfortunately for a down-on-his-luck janitor known only as W.C. (Dan Palmer), while everyone else is enjoying themselves under the mistletoe, he’s just received his marching orders from his boss, and is planning to steal a toolbox full of money once he finishes his shift. Heading into the ladies for a minor repair job, things seem to be looking up when two drunken young women enter the restroom and begin passionately making out with each other, delivering what appears to be the perfect opportunity for W.C. to knock one out. However, before he’s even had a chance to unzip, one of the girls takes the concept of a love-bite a little too far and soon he finds himself stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak, with only a cubicle door between him and a horde of flesh-hungry walking dead.

Virtually all of the action in director Christian James’ low-budget British zombie comedy Stalled takes place not only in the restroom, but inside the very cubicle that W.C. has sought refuge in. Despite the introduction of Heather, a mysterious woman trapped a couple of cubicles down (and one whom we only hear), Stalled is essentially a one-man show, and while credit is due to the director for managing to keep things interesting for the most part, the real plaudits go to writer and star Dan Palmer. It’s no easy task to carry a film on your own, but Palmer does an effective job here; his script contains genuine laughs and heart alongside some solid zombie action, and his performance is also worthy of praise, especially as he manages to take a character who’d be easy to dislike and actually make us care about his fate.

Stalled earned some rave reviews on the festival circuit last year, particularly from Kim Newman, who described it as “a worth successor to Shaun of the Dead“, and Flickering Myth co-editor Luke Owen, who was so impressed with the film that he organised a special screening and Q&A at the Prince Charles Cinema back in November. Now it’s looking to cement its rapidly-approaching cult status with a DVD release here in the UK, and if you’re a genre fan who’s a little jaded with the seemingly endless stream of no-budget, no-quality “- of the Dead” knock-offs that seem to infest ASDA’s bottom shelf on a weekly basis and are looking for something with a bit more originality to it, then Stalled should be right up your street. It’s easy to throw around quotes like “The Best Zombie Comedy Since Shaun of the Dead“, but delivering on that is another thing entirely. Shaun of the Dead it is not, but Stalled is certainly no Shite of the Living Dead either.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★  

Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He is the editor-in-chief of FlickeringMyth.com and the author of Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen.

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