An Australian horror film starring a lot of young actors who play young performers trapped inside a theater besieged by zombies.
A plot taken from the UK’s Dead Set (2008) and set in an Australia theater
Theatre of the Dead review
by TS Alan
Locked away in their theatre, the cast and crew of “Angels In Hell” are forced by an overbearing director to spend hours in rehearsal, unaware that a viral outbreak is changing the residents of their town into zombies. Eventually discovering that they are surrounded by the living dead outside, and with limited resources, they must decide between sheltering in place and hoping for rescue, or taking matters into their own hands and making an extremely dangerous escape. As debate over the course of action splits the group, and the spreading zombie virus starts to infect their own, they battle amongst themselves for leadership not realizing their petty squabbling could result in their downfall.
I had wanted to review this movie for sometime. I had reached out to the production when the film was first released in 2013, but failed to receive any response to my request for a screener. A year ago I discovered it was on Vimeo VOD, and a week ago I finally decided to watch it.
There is nothing wrong with this film when it comes to production values and cast. The cineamatography is solid as is the acting of the young and mostly inexperienced cast. The special effects and makeup are also very well done. Even the direction from Patrick J. Gallagher is solid. However for all that is right with the film, there is one big issue that holds this film back from being good — Gallagher’s script.
The screenplay mainly suffers from lack of character development. The main roles are pretty much written in all the same vein; petty, unsympathetic and one dimensional, and remain that way throughout the film. There is truly not one character you can get emotionally attached to and hope they survive, not even the main heroine, who was the most affable of them all.
There is also another downfall to this movie. It has the same premise to that of the highly acclaimed 2008 UK televsion mini-series Dead Set. Dead Set is set during a fictional series of Big Brother, a zombie outbreak occurs, but the house-mates are unaware of the impending doom outside of the Big Brother House.
The plot of Theatre of the Dead and Dead Set are nearly identical. Each cast eventually discovers there is a zombie outbreak occurring outside their isolated world. They need to decide to fight their way out or hunker down and wait for help. In both productions a power struggle arises dividing the characters in two factions. And in both Theatre of the Dead and Dead Set, the actions of the power play and those who decide to flee have tragic consequences to all groups concerened.
But unlike Theatre of the Dead, the UK television series was extremely well written with characters you both hated and loved. There was those you definitely wanted to see die and those you truly hoped would survive. Unfortunately Theatre of the Dead does not reach the emotional level that Dead Set achieved, if it had then it would have made for a satisfy film.
Theater of the Dead
Directed by Patrick J. Gallagher
Written by Patrick J. Gallagher
Cast: Emma Gleeson, Rob Baird, Ché Baker, Andy Bramble, Kat Bramston, Matt Butcher, Yanina Clifton
Run Time: 85 minutes
Release Date: November 28, 2013 (Canberra premiere) / 2015 on Vimeo VOD