Stalled Movie Review
Written by Sharon Davies
DVD released by Matchbox Films
Directed by Christian James
Written by Dan Palmer
2013, 84 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 24th Feb 2014
Dan Palmer as W.C
Tamaryn Payne as Evie
The British horror-comedy scene has become supercharged. With Shaun of the Dead becoming so popular in mainstream homes, and setting the standard for the fusion of the two genres, talented people are running to their word processors to create the next new thing. Most of them fail at their attempts. The Stalled gang does not.
Stalled tells the story of a janitor working in an office late on Christmas Eve. After tending to some fixings in the female toilets, he attends to some "business" in one of the stalls. While he's in there, the shit hits the fan (it's an appropriate place for that to happen) and a zombie invasion breaks out.
While the office workers have contracted some kind of undead virus, he is trapped in the stall as the festive zombies spread their Christmas un-cheer and fill the room one by one. Stuck a few cubicles down is an uninfected female office worker, and together they must find a way to escape the bloodthirsty horde.
Ok so lets get a few things out of the way. Stalled: it's a cheesy name. The budget: minimal. The acting: a little basic in parts. The gore: slapstick and a little DIY. However the talent on this film shines through. Yes it's a little raw around the edges but everything is rendered with humour and flair. The gags are excellent and of the quintessentially dry British kind (which in my humble opinion is the best.) I think back to similar classics, Evil Dead, Braindead and Basket Case, all of which had similar constraints but managed to pull themselves back into a sense of class I enjoy.
Dan Palmer does a great job both in the writing and timing of the piece. It's a good job too because for 90% of the movie you are confined in this puke and blood stained stall with the hapless hero and you champion him on all the way.
Another great element is the premise itself. Think about it - what would you do if you were trapped in a toilet stall with zombies slowly filling the room one by one? Okay, well not the first thing (appropriate toilet joke added). Stay and die or fight and maybe survive. The old zombie premise injected into a new scenario really goes a long way.
Stalled was eagerly anticipated by many before its release and it doesn't disappoint. It isn't going to be to everyone's taste but I defy you to not even let out a couple of laughs throughout.
One of the dangerous parts of making a horror comedy is getting the split right. Too much horror and you can shock, and too much comedy and you can disappoint. The gore is plentiful and the ending is great - my only question is will there be a sequel? I hope they don't stall that.