Reviewed By Dead Kev
I always wondered whatever became of good 'ole McDermott.
At the end of Day of the Dead, we know he'd escaped
the zombies and made his way, via whirlybird, to the sandy
beaches of some remote locale. But after that? Well, it
looks like he took that experience and turned it into a
job as a school detention supervisor. After suffering through
such a trauma, I can imagine it would be very therapeutic
to hold full disciplinary reign over a room full of misbehaving
In case you didn't catch the sarcasm, Detained is
not a tongue-in-cheek follow-up to Day of the Dead,
but rather a serious short horror film written, directed,
and produced by Ireland's Jason Tammemägi. While the film's
main draw is meant to be its non-living stars, Tammemägi
was able to lure Jarlath Conroy from his New York stage
work long enough to star in the short. Conroy will forever
be known in zombie circles as the likeable radio-man from
George Romero's third foray with the undead.
In Detained, Conroy delivers most of the lines as
McAlester, the detention room supervisor presiding over
Thomas Doyle's (Ciarán O'Brien) first ever detention. In
an act of impeccable timing, the one day he ends up in detention
is the very day that the living dead decide to rise up and
attack. As a short film, naturally there's not really enough
time to tell the why's or how's of the attack. Rather, the
focus is on Doyle's escape from his now infested school.
A simple concept, and not the most original, but the merits
of Detained lie not in the plot, but the execution.
And with 15 minutes, how much plot can you really have anyways?
The intent of the film is intended to be enjoyed at surface
level, but having been influenced by the likes of Romero,
there may indeed be a bit of social commentary in there
Admittedly borrowing inspiration from the Silent Hill
video game series as well, Tammemägi uses the school's darkened
corridors as Doyle's other obstacles, as he creeps along
with only a flashlight to guide him to freedom. Deftly using
shadows and the unlit halls' built-in atmosphere, the zombies
are shown mostly in just glimpses and often framed by only
the beam of the flashlight. It's rather brilliant for an
extra low budget affair. In some shots, the darkness allows
you to hide much of the zombie from view, which means you
don't have to have the greatest make-up jobs in the world.
Though, if they slacked off, you don't notice it. Zombie-man
Simon Crane made up some nasty looking ones.
Detained is one of the most impressive looking short
films I've ever seen. The young actors are surprisingly
quite good. The cinematography is excellent and I really
dug the cool visual effects. Editing, direction...very solid.
And as good as its looks are, Duncan Maitland's score and
the film's sound effects are equally impressive. It really
plays perfectly and ratchets up the creepy factor. Blend
it all together, and you get 15 minutes of spooky undead
fun. And it's great to see Jarlath Conroy in action again!
|This is very solid filmmaking and a very atmospheric
short tale. You should definitely check it out if
you get the chance.
|1. Don't be afraid to leave your wounded friends
behind. They'd do the same to you.
2. Flashlights make a good weapon if you're in a pinch.
|• Detained was 'Highly Commended'
by the 15th International Festival of Fantastic Films
(2004) in Manchester, England.
|• The school used for shooting was Sutton Park School
in Dublin, Ireland.
Don't Run Productions
Don't Run Productions
|COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Copyright © 2002-06 - All Things Zombie.com
Best viewed with IE 6 at 1024x768
Trademarks belong to their respective owners.
All Rights Reserved.
Scary Movie 4
See No Evil
Snakes On a Plane