Zombie Chronicles: The Infected (2010)

Running this website I get too watch and read a lot of projects … both good and bad.  Take for example ZOMBIE CHRONICLES: THE INFECTED, written, directed, produced, and edited by Marvin Suarez (who also did the casting, production design, operated the camera, served as the key grip, and played the role of the guy holding the news reporter’s camera).  I first got in touch with Marvin in early Spring through Twitter (@InfectedZombies).  At that point he was in the early-to-mid stages of putting together ZOMBIE CHRONICLES and I could feel his excitement through our email correspondences.  Well this is one of those times where a filmmakers passion comes through in aces!!  Suarez made a tight, fast-paced 25 minute zombie short that delivers in it’s story telling, characters, and zombie mayhem.

Let me take a second and get something off my chest — for the record.  I get a lot of screeners from indie horror filmmakers.  A lot.  When I originally make contact with a filmmaker who’s looking to get their project reviewed and subsequently promoted I always let them know that just because they’re sending me a free copy of their film in no way guarantees they will get a favorable review.  Sometimes I never hear back from them.  But for the most part I’ve been lucky; most of the films I get from indie filmmakers have been really fun and enjoyable.  There are times though when I have gotten some absolute pretentious suck-fests (see my review of BURNING INSIDE; blech!!).  But the bottom line is that I approach every film I watch, regardless of whether I get it through Netflix or directly from the filmmakers, the same way; every film gets an unbiased review.

Not the scariest looking zombie, but they’re vicious nonetheless!!

Ok; thanks for sticking with me while I got that off my chest!!  With that being said I was really hoping that Suarez’s ZOMBIE CHRONICLES: THE INFECTED wasn’t gonna disappoint, and thankfully it doesn’t.  The short begins with the zombie apocalypse having already begun.  We don’t really know what caused it, but its obviously being caused by some kind of virus.  There’s rioting in the streets as the survivors run for their lives from the infected as they are trying to comprehend what’s going on.  At the center or it all are two paramedics, Sarah (Celeste Santoya) and Josh (Lavrenti Lopes), who quickly realize that the dead are coming back to “life” and attacking the living.  Once they realize that things are out of control and that they’re doing nothing but endangering themselves by being on the streets, Sarah wants to get back home to check on her daughter.  Once back at her apartment things go from really bad to fucked.

Paramedics Josh & Sarah realizing things are completely outta control!!

Suarez isn’t trying to re-invent the zombie genre with his ZOMBIE CHRONICLES: THE INFECTED.  You aren’t going to see anything really original, BUT you are going to see things done right.  The zombies, while not covered in elaborate make-up, are scary as they slowly take over the city and infect anyone who is “normal.”  But whereas the story may not be groundbreaking, the zombies Suarez gives us are refreshing.  They’re the “fast” kind of zombies, and they also seem to retain some level of intelligence and consciousness about what they are and what they’re doing.  In a particular creepy scene a zombie explains to Sarah what he’s planning on doing to her.  It’s a nice creepy, effective scene.

Suarez also doesn’t rely solely on excessive gore to make his film scary.  There is some well done (albeit tame) gore, but the real scares comes from Suarez’a use of shadows, the way scenes are filmed, and the good old fashioned “fear of the unknown.”  Every corner Josh and Sarah turn and every doorway they walk through you can feel the tension the characters feel and the danger they are in.  He accomplishes this by using the Brian De Palma technique of splitting the screen into two to four screens whereby the viewer gets to see the same scene unfold from up to four different perspectives.  Suarez doesn’t use this as a gimmick; it’s an essential tool he uses to tell his story.  It’s a really well-filmed short that fully develops the tension in every scene.

Getting taken DOWN!!

Like all films, whether they’re big budget epics or small indie’s, this film isn’t perfect.  At times lead actress Santoya over acts a bit and takes the viewer out of “the moment,” but overall she does a good job (as does the entire cast).  There are also times where the sound and dialogue are hard to hear, but these are minor complaints.  ZOMBIE CHRONICLES: THE INFECTED ends with the on-screen words:

Infected Case # 1938

Closed

This implies there will be more to come, right?  Absolutely.  Suarez envisions his ZOMBIE CHRONICLES as a three part series.  The next part, titled INFECTED SURVIVORS, is due out in 2011.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what Suarez does with and where he takes his “intelligent zombies.”  My other main complaint, and this is directed right at you Suarez, is to stop teasing me with 25 minute shorts and give me a full length feature!!  I was really engrossed in the story and characters (especially Sarah’s character) and wanted to see more (Suarez is actually planning on a feature length film down the road).

Marvin Suarez on the set.

There’s one last thing I wanted to mention:  I don’t know what Suarez’s budget was on this short, but I can tell you that he put every single penny of his (I assume) modest budget up on the screen.  There are 45 people listed in the cast!!  This is good for the viewer because he doesn’t skimp on the attacking zombies at all.  Most scenes of full of rampaging zombies looking for uninfected humans.  Over half the cast is listed as a “zombie” in the credits; there’s more zombies in this short than I’ve seen in some full length feature zombie flicks!!

This short isn’t gonna re-invent the zombie genre, and it’s not trying too.  But if you’re looking for a kick ass zombie flick that has all the best ingredients of the zombie genre and does them right, then you’re gonna have a really fun time.  I encourage you to contact Suarez at [email protected] to find out how you can see ZOMBIE CHRONICLES: THE INFECTED.  It’s worth your time!!

Yo better run bitc

My Summary:

Director:  Marvin Suarez (and writer)

Plot:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Gore:  3 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem:  4 out of 5 brains

Reviewed by Scott Shoyer

Stay Bloody!!!

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13 Responses to Zombie Chronicles: The Infected (2010)

  1. Pingback:Next Installment of the Zombie Chronicles to Begin Shooting October 2015 | Hilarious zombie prank videos, zombie movies, news and zombie TV show!

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  5. john ambrose says:

    wowww, this is really crazy good shoots!!!

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  7. Deggsy says:

    Great review, Scott, I’m looking forward to contacting Mr Suarez and learning more about it.
    On a related note, do you ever feel yourself getting jaded by seeing so many movies that, if not bad, are at least uninspiring or unoriginal? When you’re watching something and you’re finishing the dialogue or correctly guessing what stupid thing the zombie-bait is going to do?

    • Deggsy …. you describe it perfectly!!! Everytime I pop a new movie into the DVD player I feel this sense of “doomed anticipation” welling up inside my stomach. I WANT the movie to be good but I know deep down its gonna be a by-the-numbers suck-fest. “Jaded” is the perfect way to describe it. You have these big-budget remakes getting 10’s of millions of dollars and they are predictable and helling boring. And then you have a short like ZOMBIE CHRONICLES: THE INFECTED that has a solid, well-executed story, and I’m sure filmmaker Suarez had to scrimp and save to get his vision up onto film.

      There’s just no excuse for a film to be uninspiring, unoriginal, lazy, or boring. NO REASON!!

    • Karnyvore says:

      I’m working on several zombie projects of my own and found myself obliged to ‘do the research.’ After countless movies, books, comics, games, etc. jaded no longer seems the right word. Perhaps its more along the lines of disappointment and pity. Troma films aside (I just expect them to be that bad) I just don’t understand why some of these projects go ahead without any seeming forethought to how poorly executed they are. I’m tired of the zombie-bait characters obviously written as a**holes just so you’ll be happy when they die. I’m already happy people are going to die, you don’t have to try so hard! I’ve gotten to a point where I’ll like a bad zombie flick just because it didn’t try to over extend itself to be something its not.

      • I agree Karnyvore; the zombie genre, more than other genres, is so stuck in a rut having the same types of characters; same pattern of action; and same story arc. That’s why I really enjoyed ZOMBIE CHRONICLES: THE INFECTED so much. Sure the story’s not all that original, but in this case its what Suarez DOESN’T do that works …. he doesn’t give us the same old crappy pattern. If you’re doing some zombie research you definitely need to see this short!!

        What are some of the projects you’re working on?

      • Karnyvore says:

        Mostly novels and a novella with a smattering of short stories but there is a multimedia project I’m developing. Hopefully I’ll be able to post everything in its own website some time in the future. Boy I’m glad ‘future’ is a vague time frame. BTW, I may have missed you mention since I’ve only recently started checking into the site regularly but am I the only one outraged by the “Let The Right One In” remake?

      • I’m with ya on beig glad “the future” is a vague term!! I have a few projects that I’d like to get done sometime in “the future” myself 🙂

        And no; you’re not the only one outraged with the LET THE RIGHT ONE IN remake. It’s been discussed here and there on various occasions. To me its a completely stupid and unnecessary remake. It’s also insulting that the reason they are claiming its being remade is to make a more “accessible” version for an American audience. REALLY??!? So us dumb Americans can’t appreciate the original LET THE RIGHT ONE IN?? Fuck you director-writer Matt Reeves and everyone else involved. Sorry, but attitudes like that are what’s keeping Hollywood focused on such shitty flicks like TRANSFORMERS 3 instead of trying some fresh, original ideas!!

        I’ve been hearing some rumors lately that the original distributor for LET ME IN may not distribute the film and is looking to sell it off to another distributor. That fills me with confidence about the project!!

        Good luck on all your projects!!!

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