• Martyn Wakefield

ASCENSION [SHORT] (REVIEW)

Dir. James Hart

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

After the ‘Sickness’ has spread across the nation, in the midst of the English countryside, Tom (Laurence Saunders), Annie (Jacky Fellows) and Joe (Derek Melling) head out to the open on an undisclosed mission.

Ambushed by three locals, armed and ready to shoot, it’s not only the ‘sick’ that the trio need to defend themselves from. Offering themselves up with no harm, it takes a bitter battle of wits and for Annie to sleep with Eddie (Mark Rathbone), their apparent leader. Soon after, Tom, Annie and Joe lead them to their safehouse for sanctuary from the sickness. Their welcome party is far from enticing as the film comes to a dramatic closure and a twist that gives a refreshing afterthought to the living dead.

This is in heart a zombie film but one with brains. The first 20 minutes may seem like a filler, and with some slight sound issues hurdling the progression, for what is ultimately a slow paced film but one that pays with dividends.

A dark humour laced within that shows signs of inspiration from the likes of other rising talents including Alex Chandon’s INBRED and even sharing some of the cast (Rathbone and Melling) but it's Saunders (DEADTIME, THE SEASONING HOUSE) who steals the show proving once more that a Brummie accent isn’t all that bad.

The zombie genre may have been lead by America’s George A Romero but with the likes of WORLD WAR Z and DEAD BODIES, it seems the British lead the way with the undead. ASCENSION is a true gem and a great slice of originality in a time when it is much needed for the sub-genre.

Director James Hart captures David Jeffery’s chilling story balanced with a haunting accompaniment by Liz Comley. This is one you won’t forget in a hurry and while only 30 minutes in length, leaves you wanting more which in ASCENSION's case is only a good thing.

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