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The Independent Critic

Madeleine Mackenzie, Caleb McClure, Patrick Campbell Moonie, Lisa Treloar, and Gabrielle Sing
Chris Smellin, Robert Smellin
15 Mins.

 "Zero" is the Latest Short from the Smellin Brothers 

Zero is yet another nicely done indie horror short from the Smellin Brothers, whose She's Having a Baby was also a fave of The Independent Critic over this past year. This 15-minute film centers around a young mother tasked with handling a rather horrid deed - taking care of "Zero," as in Subject Zero, the first person/incident that becomes an indicator of an outbreak. In this case, it's an obvious zombie outbreak and, even more compellingly, "Zero" is her son.

I suppose I could call Zero "The Walking Dead" with feelings or, perhaps, I could even call it Warm Bodies with actual warm bodies. What I know I'm going to call Zero is an incredibly well done 15-minute short film with top notch performances from Lisa Treloar and Madeleine Mackenzie along with a stellar minimalist score from Luke Goldfinch and intimate yet atmospheric lensing from James Beilharz. The film has already appeared at several film festivals including Action on Film, Wild Rose (where it picked up a couple of fx prizes), Melbourne Underground, Screamfest, and the Long Beach International Film Festival. The list is continuing to grow.

Zero works in such a wonderful way largely because the Smellins aren't content to simply throw blood and gore at the screen, but they pay as much attention to character, story, and the film's technical foundation. The end result is a short film that stays with you long after the closing credits have rolled on by.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic