Directed by Adam Spinks
Starring Joanne Gale, Simon Burbage & David Anderson
Indie film review by Monica Jowett
As she tries to discover if a government weapons facility are using humans as test subjects, independent journalist Kate Meadows (Joanne Gale) along with her cameraman Duke (Simon Burbage) dig deep and are unprepared for what they find in this horror thriller, Survivors, from director Adam Spinks.
The zombie sub-genre of horror as been re-worked over and over, with many films using different techniques to make them stand out from the rest and Survivors does this too. With a small crowd-funded budget, the indie film uses a mixture of found footage and normal cinematography and rather than using the zombies as the focus, the central story is on the survivors who have not been infected and the lengths they will go to keep on living.
The plot follows Kate as she tries to uncover the truth about MADEA, a government weapons facility, with her cameraman Duke. In the midst of the investigation everything starts to go awry. The infected people are escaping and the virus is spreading. After losing Duke, Kate teams up with Paul (David Anderson) a mysterious man who might not be helping Kate after all. With Paul, she desperately tries to get to the coast, where she hopes to reunite with Duke but learns quickly to not trust anyone, as the virus infection spreads and hope seems lost.
Showing what happened in the lead up to the outbreak is done through the found footage camera work of Kate and Duke investigating MADEA, and then traditional cinematography ensues when Kate joins with Paul to survive. The handheld camera work is used throughout and gives us a sense of intimacy with the characters and urgency about the situation. Survivors gives some great performances; Kate is determined and passionate about the story she is uncovering, yet with just enough wariness about what she faces.
As previously mentioned, the zombie genre has been repeated numerous times in in horror cinema throughout the years but Survivors stays clear of the classic tropes, we are shown infrequent views of the infected, and only a few hints that they are hard to kill. There is a hint of influence from Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002), as the focus is on a few survivors and the panicked aftermath of the initial outbreak which gives a smaller perspective and allows a familiarity with Kate and Paul and gives a human side to the horror genre. Less action packed, it’s a character driven zombie film without the gore.
Spinks has created a well written and directed film that makes every use of its small budget, putting a human story at the centre of a deadly virus outbreak. By staying away from the zombie horror stereotypes, Survivors is an effective horror thriller that might not provide many scares but is a memorable piece of independent filmmaking.