A LOW-budget zombie film shot in a Dorset barn has impressed the critics and proved a success on DVD.
The film, Stalled, is set around one toilet cubicle, from which a janitor tries to hold out against a zombie apocalypse.
It was conceived by two former Dorset students and shot in 15 days on a set constructed in a barn near Wimborne.
Director Christian James, 37, was brought up in West Moors and Ferndown.
The film’s writer and star, Dan Palmer, comes from Northbourne, and they met while studying film-making at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design.
“We’ve always been developing projects together and this one just kind of struck the right chord,” said Christian.
Christian took time out of his work filming corporate videos and online adverts to make the movie in late 2011.
“We shot the film essentially in 15 days. There was little prep,” he said.
“I was on the set from about 6am to about 9pm. I’d get home and usually I’d respond to clients’ emails and sometimes have to send them an edit and be at work the next morning.”
There were 14 months of post-prod-uction, with 120 visual effects shots.
The genre website Slashfilm agreed to put a trailer on its website – and before long an Australian company got in touch to ask about the rights.
The movie was taken to the Cannes Film Festival and was a big success at the Film4 FrightFest at London’s Leicester Square. It went on to win the Melies D’argent Award for best feature at Lund Fest in Sweden.
It is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray, stocked in Asda and HMV – and even though it did not reach British cin-emas, its sales on disc have out-perf-ormed a number of box office hits.
Set at Christmas, the film has been called a “Zombie It’s a Wonderful Life”, and Christian says there is a “strong anti-bullying message”.
“We’re saying as film-makers ‘I’m going to entertain you for 90 minutes in a toilet cubicle’. The concept this time was a great idea and we executed it and from I feel we did the best we could, from the feedback we’ve been getting,” he said.
He would like to shoot another film locally and the duo have an idea for a movie set on Bournemouth Pier.
“We would like to shoot the next film in Dorset. If possible, that’s the plan – the same as Peter Jackson always films in New Zealand, we’d like to stay on the south coast,” he said.