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I Love Sarah Jane – a review

March 5, 2011

To this day I’ve seen two zombie short films. The first one was Plague, which was awesome. When I ran into another one, I figured that it would inevitably suck. Laws of probability and all that. Imagine my surprise then, when I found out that I Love Sarah Jane – referred to as ILSJ from now on – was actually a nice little packet of zombie cinema.

This Australian 2008 movie, directed by Spencer Susser who is also one of the two writers (David Michôd being the other), tells the story of Jimbo. Jimbo is in love with Sarah Jane, who couldn’t care less. Also, there’s a zombie apocalypse going on and most adults seem to be gone. That’s not really focused on, the most important thing here is young love. I’m not going to give you a scene by scene run-down of the movie. It’s 12 minutes and well worth your time. To sum it up, it’s a bunch of kids making do in a post-zombie-apocalypse world. The fact that the movie is so compact makes it frustrating to review. Saying pretty much anything about the movie would feel like saying too much.

Quality-wise the short is very nice. The cinematography works and the young actors carry their roles nicely. A special mention must be made of the lovely Mia Wasikowska who you might recognize as Alice from the new Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland. The soundtrack is minimal, but effective when it’s present. There is one special effect at the end of the movie which doesn’t quite fit the style of the rest of the film, but it’s a minor quibble. The zombie make-up is top notch, and is clearly a case of quality over quantity.

Zombie movies are all too rarely shown from a child’s point of view. Kids are usually relegated to one of two roles, those two being the annoying cute kid to protect or the vicious, shocking demon child. In ILSJ, the kids are real characters, and in fact the only characters in the film. They’re mostly none too bright either, so they come across as  a realistic rendition of their subject matter.

Overall verdict: If you’re in for a 12 minute dose of well-made zombie cinema, you could do a whole lot worse than see ILSJ. It’s a compact, even minimalist story which nevertheless manages to convey a lot. The movie blends the bleak atmosphere of the zombie apocalypse with a small dose of genuine warmth, and the result works. Lovely!

Thanks to the wonders of a series of tubes, you can view the movie below. Now would be a great time to watch it.

More wonderful short films (sadly lacking zombies) can be found on the site of Blue-Tongue Films.

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4 comments

  1. I finally got around to making the time to watch ILSJ just now. I am very glad that I did. Thanks for bringing it to my attention 🙂

    I also just watched Plague, which although interesting, really suffered in comparison with ILSJ. ILSJ is far better I think. Lovely and bleak, without being goth.

    [SPOILERS]

    The kids are believable (largely just unpleasant turds basically) and the most nauseating character of the lot gets exactly what the Lord of the Flies in me wants him to get.

    The zombie make up is exceptional. It very much looks like one of the Mantic undead figures. Scary.

    Regarding the final SFX shot, I didnt find it at odds with the rest of the movie. It graphically punctuated why Jimbo is in love with Sarah Jane, at least in part. This dorky, trainspotting, Dead Rising playing nerd enjoyed that MJ performed *both* types of shovel based zombie execution too.

    Thanks again for showing me this. ILMJ and the Dead Island trailer are the best zombie related things that I have seen for ages, all thanks to DotL. Nice one.


  2. Thanks for the compliments once again, it’s been a hell of a day and they really hit the spot.

    [MORE SPOILERS]

    Actually, the execution scenes were nice. I was referring to the explosion before that, as in my opinion it was a bit too CGI and a bit too comical.

    And you’re right about the Mantic connection, eerie indeed.


  3. [CONTINUED SPOILER TALK]

    “Actually, the execution scenes were nice. I was referring to the explosion before that, as in my opinion it was a bit too CGI and a bit too comical”

    Oh yeah, of course. That *did* look a little Road Runner-esque, although I had forgotten about it a minute later as everything immediately got back on track. A cool little film.


  4. […] isn’t so big so as to force the film makers to avoid risks. A good example of this is I love Sarah Jane, which shows the whole thing from the point of view of children. And now along comes Play […]



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