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The Independent Critic

Darren Ruston, Luke Shaw, Shelley Davenport
Michael James Dean
16 Mins.


 "Already Dead" Gets Set for Festival Run 
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Michael James Dean's 16-minute comedy horror short Already Dead is a breezy way to spend a few minutes with George (Darren Ruston), the central subject in a documentary about zombies, I guess we should call it a zocumentary, the result largely coming from what has been a rather quick integration into society of zombies following ZE Day, a 2001 zombie outbreak. Zombies now live among us, working 9-5 jobs and vacationing alongside us in Barbados and more, but if there's a theme in Already Dead it's simply this - Have we really come to accept zombies or are we still stuck back in 2001?

If it sounds like there's a political edge to Already Dead, you're absolutely correct. In a political climate that sometimes seems to be a struggle between those who want the past, those who are comfy with the future and those who are looking to the future, Already Dead may very well resonate with its pointed examination of a son leaving his father behind the day he was bit and other briefly yet honestly approached questions that many of us are asking ourselves these days.

The film is written and directed by Michael James Dean and is just getting ready for its festival run. As George, Darren Ruston gives a quietly humorous performance that largely sets the tone for the rest of the ensemble cast. Ed Harris's original music companions the film quite nicely, while Jamie D. Montgomery's lensing is fairly straightforward yet effective.

There's no denying that Already Dead is a low-budget effort and it suffers in the areas that most low-budget films suffer - not particularly effective make-up being perhaps the most noteworthy area that will impact a viewing. If you're familiar with microcinema, it shouldn't distract you but if you're only familiar with film through your local multi-plex then you may need to adjust your expectations.

I'd expect Already Dead to find a home on the indie/underground fest circuit and, perhaps, even amongst a group of shorts on the horror fest circle. While not a flawless film, Already Dead has enough fun to make it worth a solid 16-minutes of your time and should give you some good laughs along the way.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic