Granny of the Dead (2017) – Film Review
Director: Tudley James
Cast: Marcus Carroll, Abigail Hamilton, Oliver Ferriman
by Ashleigh Millman
There’s a certain breed of films, and horror films in particular, where being absolutely atrocious works directly in their favour. There to offer nothing more than an entertaining poke at the film industry, their self-aware terribleness can be taken in good humour, transcending from awful to amazing.
Granny of the Dead is not one of those films.
Whilst this type of film is obviously its goal – there’s a granny who bites off her young lover’s penis, one who cooks the family cat instead of pancakes, and plenty of geriatric zombies roaming a small welsh village – it mostly misses the mark by trying far too hard. Clearly inspired by Shaun of the Dead, the film feels much more like a badly composed homage to it rather than a film in its own right. Without the production value of the Cornetto trilogy or the comedic talent of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, it’s a cheap replica of plenty of films that have come before it, just done much, much worse.
Narratively, it’s a mess. We begin in a church with a group of friends, with little to no reason of why they’re there or what’s going on, before an old lady comes to kick them out and ultimately gets possessed by a giant shadowy hand. Next minute, there’s a zombie apocalypse rife with elderly victims. Protagonist Ed (Marcus Carroll) is just a ‘regular guy’ trying to survive the day and escape his zombified nan, with his group of friends following the same objective across the village – and even though it’s all happening in the same place, it feels totally disconnected to watch.
Tudley James makes some odd choices not only with his narrative, but with the way he chooses to tell his story. He colour grades the movie in a dreary grey wash, films from jaunty angles, and utilises sub-par recordings throughout – revealing the amateur nature of his film with each progressing scene. A few moments of using these filming techniques would have worked admirably – but as a whole film, it just serves to make it difficult to watch.
“Few funny moments”
Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely a few funny moments (a broken clock is still right twice a day). James’s CGI and zombie effects also work in his favour, with some genuinely scary looking monsters when taken on their own. However, the deeper problems of a lack of character development, some truly dire acting, and a haphazard approach to stylistic content override most of the good the film does. At least the Welsh accents are there to make it somewhat bearable.
‘Granny of the Dead’ is available on DVD from Matchbox Films