We Are What We Eat... every time I read this title I think of the poster for Fulci's Zombi, get the evil white and gray zombie head in my mind's eye and tap my foot to some seriously marvelous prog horror music. We are not talking about the tag line for Zombi though. Nope. That's We Are Going To Eat You! And it's not the tag line from Critters 3 either You Are What They Eat. We Are What We Eat is a short film directed by then fifteen year old Sam Toller from Audio Video Head Space Productions (reminds me of the name of one of my first bands Dog Face Feedback Boy), and it's a damn fine effort.
Nicole is bitten by her zombie boyfriend. We follow her as she descends into a waking nightmare that will end her life as she knows it.
I know that the horror community adores a good zombie flick and can be a bit hard on a new filmmakers attempting this type of film. Let's face it, the market it saturated and innovation is scarce. Half of new blood horror filmmakers are taking up with buckets of latex and an assorted color of make up trying to create the next Dawn of the Dead (the other half have started horror blogs with cheeky twists on horror movie titles from the 60's and 70's). What we need are some new ideas or at least some new blood to try and spark new trends within the subgenre (see our previous articles on Abed and The Dead for what's going RIGHT with zombies in indy cinema). While you won't necessarily see innovation in We Are What We Eat, you will find committed vision. What is it that we find the most scary? The things we see every day. That's exactly what this group has harnessed.
The back story behind this film is really simple but catchy. A high school age kid gets an idea on his way home from school. What if all the kids coming to school were zombies. You know, it's not that far off if you think about your own high school experience. Wake up early. No breakfast. Not yet drinking coffee. Bus. Tons of homework. Not enough Mountain Dew. Not enough video games. Constant hormonal flux. What Sam Toller has envisioned is somewhat of a social commentary on the entire public education system all be it an early effort that is need of some polish and a more concrete ending (although we're not going to spoil that here). I wouldn't say his intent was to go the Romero/commentary route, but it's there and it's a great angle to take if this crew decides to create a feature length vision of this short.
The zombie effects are quite good for what I might imagine is a lower than average budget. So a young filmmaker is able to get some fairly nice looking undead and shoots a movie... IN TWO DAYS. Let this be a lesson to all indy filmmakers, aspiring filmmakers and kids with great ideas, you can make a movie or your dreams come true (you pick). Toller and producer Darien Davis managed to assemble a sizable crew, assign crew positions, find twenty some extras and then found competent actors who do a fine job at their roles. Two days, organize your friends and a handful of professionals and you too can make a movie to submit to festivals.
Will We Are What We Eat win big on the festival circuit? They've had some moderate success thus far in getting the film selected and with a story that inspires judges I think they stand a good chance at getting at the very least the underdog vote. Sure the film has some technical issues. It's the first effort of some newbies. My advice would be to work on the audio quality of the production and as previously stated come up with a more cohesive way to end it. Having judged a festival once myself I can tell you that it is a contender and even if it doesn't win it has put a small film crew from the UK on the map.
If We Are What We Eat plays at a festival you're planning to attend get out there and support these guys. Every voice helps and encouragement is exactly what horror artists need. Stop by the website HERE for the kind of social media experience that only zombie filmmakers can produce. Also on FaceBook HERE.
These kids love zombie movies, so they had an idea and made one. That's something you can get behind.