Dan Palmer writes and stars in the 2013 zombie-comedy, Stalled. The U.K. film is directed by Christian James. While no rating is listed, I would say it falls clearly under an “R” for language, lots of blood and violence, and some scenes with strong sexual . . . intensity. While hailed as the next Shaun of the Dead, it falls short. Very short. The comparison is not even close. However, the film is not without some merit.
The plot is so simple, it could have been clever if there had been proper execution. In Stalled, W.C. (Palmer) is a janitor for a company. It is the night of the office Christmas party. While hiding in the Women’s Restroom, investigating a toolbox filled with money, W.C. finds himself taking cover in a stall when two women enter.
One of the women had been bitten by an intoxicated colleague during the party and is examining the mark on her chest when she turns into a zombie. She attacks the second woman. And from there, actually, from just before then, the fun (the plot, anyway) begins.
W.C. finds he is not alone. With a stall between them, Heather (Antonia Bernath) has been hiding out, as well. The two are trapped in small bathroom stalls while hungry zombies mill about. The two conspire on different possible means of escape, from using severed fingers as ammo in a bra launching slingshot, to a spoiled attempt by likely hero Jeff, from IT not accounting (Mark Holden). Extension ladders, used tampons, dancing and senseless conversations between stalls keep the story moving . . . forward? Okay. Forward.
While the humor is dry (and slightly funny, but maybe not laugh out loud funny, as much as simply nodding your head and thinking, yeah — that was humorous), the zombie make-up and effects are actually pretty well crafted. The lesson, “Life’s too short to harbor silly grudges”? I’m not all convinced on that from this particular film.
I tend to judge a movie by a simplistic method: Did I play with my phone while I watched the movie. During Stalled, I did. Now and then. I checked Facebook for messages and updates. Regardless, for a low budget zombie movie, and although I think 84 minutes might have been twenty minutes too long. I give Stalled 3 out of 5 Stars. (Please note, for W.C.’s escape from the stall, I should drop the .5 of a star, but I won’t because I kind of liked the irony involved).