You have to give it to director Bill Thomas for making period zombie movie Fallen Soldiers. It’s a low budget effort that tries to offer something new to the incredibly popular horror sub-genre. Thomas’ film, Pitched as ‘The Walking Dead meets Sharpe’, follows an English soldier during the Napoleonic war, caught-up in a zombie plague. It might not rewrite the history of the zombie movie but it’s a great example of the ingenuity of low budget filmmaking.
At this point writers and directors really need to try something new in order to get some extra mileage out of zombies. The popularity of the living dead has been raging since Danny Boyle injected new life into the shuffling creatures in 2002’s 28 Day’s Later. British director Bill Thomas seems to know this and he tackles the problem head-on, giving this horror effort a solid footing on which to base his tale.
The zombies here are well realised and they deliver enough gore and carnage to keep fans happy, even if there is a shortage of actual scares. Thomas tries to add enough new angles to keep this flesh-eating fresh. He plays around with timelines to add complexity and it’s a noble attempt to spin a different type of zombie yarn. However, at times it does get a little ‘talky’ and you’d wish he had a bit more cash in his budget to open things up a bit and deliver something a bit more epic.
It’s gratifying to know that horror movies continue to be the life’s blood of the low budget film industry in the UK. These movies may rarely break-out into the mainstream but they are a hotbed of burgeoning talent. Fallen Soldiers continues the trend, and while it’s never going to change the face of zombie cinema, it will keep fans of The Walking Dead entertained between season breaks.
You get a solid documentary about the making of Fallen Solders. It’s great to see features like this which show the passion of the filmmakers. This is a solid extra for a low budget film and it helps put the film’s narrative and technical successes and failures in context.