Play Dead

April 6, 2011

Every now and then, and all too rarely,  a movie comes along that looks at the zombie apocalypse scenario from a new point of view. In a genre that’s known for endlessly reproducing much of the same tropes and plotlines, a breath of fresh air is welcome. This tends to happen more often in short films, where the financial investment 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 Dead.

The movie takes a whole new perspective on the undead catastrophe: that of pet dogs. Initially this sounds silly and cheesy, but give it a second thought. Dog (and other pet) movies tend to touch people on a different level than those dealing with only humans. Pets in movies often elicit much stronger emotional responses in movies than human characters. Remember Jones the cat in Alien? Who cares about the crew, when there’s the chance of the cat getting killed? What about the poor sled dogs in The Thing? The dog in the Dawn of the Dead remake? The horse in The Walking Dead? Tell me you haven’t watched those movies and felt more sorry for the animals than the human actors. What about movies like Homeward bound, Turner and Hooch, or other similar tear jerkers? Pets in movies are a much overlooked aspect, often replaced by children who are much more annoying.

The responses to the concept of Play Dead have reflected this. “Who would make such a movie?” “If there are dogs killed, I’m never going to see this.” “This kind of stuff is why I hated I Am Legend!” and so forth. To me it’s a whole another story. While I’ve become something of a dog person lately, I’m always looking for a zombie movie that would really touch me. Far too often you can’t relate to the protagonists, as they’re either too heroic or simply tiresome. Animals? Much easier to relate to, since there’s no dialogue nor bad acting. Play Dead might just be the first zombie flick ever to possibly make me squeeze out a few tears.

The producers are looking for funding for their project. They’re still a few hundred USD short, so I call upon the readers of DotL to lend them a hand. I pitched in $10, which entitles me to a pre-screening copy and additional goodies. You can donate to the project via Kickstarter, where you can also get more information on the film. Do donate, if only for the sake of supporting film makers brave enough to try something new with the genre. Oh, incidentally the movie looks excellent too. Don’t take my word for it, see the trailer below.


  1. Wow, this looks cool, thanks for talking about it. It kind of reminds me of Even Dworkin’s comic “Beasts of Burden”, that features a group of dogs that end up thwarting supernatural menaces each story.


    • Glad to be of assistance. Will need to check Beasts of Burden out.


  2. Thanks for the review and the donation, check out our website at http://playdeadmovie.tumblr.com and our twitter at http://twitter.com/play_dead_movie !!


    • Thanks in advance for coming up with a great new zombie flick 😉


  3. Great shout man! I splurged as well…Good to see new, fresh zombie cinema coming out!


    • Completely agree, and great to hear other people are donating as well. They easily cleared the $3000 mark, I see.


  4. yeah man, some of the funding options are KUH-RAZY….Honestly, if I had that much disposable income I would have tried for more, but tuition, food, bills, rent, paints, minis and all, they do tend to get in the way…


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