A deadly virus has torn through London and the surrounding villages. Several groups of survivors struggle to stay alive as the infected begin to cannibalize the living. With nothing left but the camera at their side, they begin to document the events as they occur. These are their tapes. Taking the same "found-footage" approach as CLOVERFIELD or REC before it, THE ZOMBIE DIARIES passes itself off as factual video evidence of a zombie outbreak as it occurs. The film is much more successful at achieving this goal than the similarly titled DIARY OF THE DEAD, offering a much more natural look and a sense of spontaneity that was lacking in Romero's attempt. Unlike any of the other films of its type, THE ZOMBIE DIARIES assembles a collection of tapes that were taken by several groups of survivors, which gives it a range of different stories and personal accounts of the outbreak from various perspectives. Kevin Gates and Michael Bartlett further sell this idea by using multiple cameras and damaging some of the footage to create an individuality in each video diary. While the approach is a unique and interesting use of the "found-footage" style, in the end, it is still a zombie film, and must succeed on this level as well. There is very little gore or gut-munching to be found throughout the runtime, and the slow pacing and shaky camerawork will be unappealing to many viewers. Instead, the most effective scares are built in these slower moments, where the survivors comb through houses and buildings looking for food or refuge but only find more of the infected! Because the film is pieced together from various sources, it is sure to catch criticism for its lack of continuity and non-linear storytelling, but fans of the recent trend in faked documentary Horror films will find this to be a much more satisfying and realistic effort than the disappointing DIARY OF THE DEAD.
If you liked THE ZOMBIE DIARIES, check out:
DIARY OF THE DEAD, AUTOMATON TRANSFUSION, SALVAGE.