I'm going to preface this write-up, by letting viewers know that "Positive Action" is the second installment of a planned four part series. I wasn't aware of this when writing this review. Now that I do know, I plan to check out the first installment "Positive Result" in the very near future.
It's been my experience that good things happen in fives. Usually, as the phrase goes, things happen in threes - but I find with indie movies, five is the way of things. Why bring this up? Simply stated, Andrew Cant's short film "Positive Action" is the fourth film I've watched in a row - that I enjoyed very much. While it is true that gear is becoming more affordable, allowing a lot more people to make movies - style and imagination is still king of the horde. Something "Positive Action" has in buckets.
The short version of the plot? Officer Jamie manages to get suckered into a seemingly routine call, to investigate an unusual smell coming from a residence. Neighbors suspect the resident has died. Something Jamie wishes isn't the case, since his shift is almost done and he has a lot of work and studying to do. That detective exam won't go well if he can't get some reading time in. Right? The call doesn't quite go as planned, and Jamie finds himself in a potentially fatal situation. He manages to stick himself with a used insulin needle... and did I mention this is a zombie film? I didn't? Well reader... now you know.
"Positive Action" presents a not quite fresh look into the world of zombies. Not quite in the sense we've all seen movies and shows, that look at zombieism as a fact of life; never the less, "Positive Action" is successful in it's slightly more original take on the topics of zombies and viral infection.
In the world Andrew Cant puts forward, people are infected while still alive and carry the disease until death. Living normal lives. They are required to register however, allowing them to be tracked. This is especially helpful when they do pass on - alerting paramedics and first responders to the zombie threat. With "Positive Action" the plot revolves around Mr Barrow, the deceased person having not kept up with the registration process - putting officer Jamie into a deadly situation.
The technical aspects of "Positive Action" deserve some special mentions. I'm no stranger to low budget indie movies looking good - compared to five years ago, that number is up one hundred percent easy. But this film is well above the accepted standards for indie flicks. It looks great. It's put together well, and for the most part, sounds great to boot. There are a few muffled moments when the public health officer enters the mix, but only just - and nothing to really write home about.
Where this short film does shine, is when speaking of Andrew Cant and Alasdair McWilliams direction - particularly the direction of the troupe of actors. This film has some excellent character portrayals - and I can't think of any spot where things don't feel spot on. Elliot Cable's leading character Jamie feels just right. Not coming across as that guy. The one that nobody likes. Yet he does it in a real life way. He's not the perfect person, but he's no moron. Everyone else easily manages to hold their weight, and I especially enjoyed the scene involving a protective paramedic. Some really great stuff.
I was going to mention that "Positive Action" felt like a few scenes from a larger narrative - until realizing that it was. Yet even discounting that aspect, there's still no real issues following along. "Positive Action" does hold it's own as a separate film... but can't hide it's larger world feel. A zombie flick that doesn't rely on pure gore and scares. Who would have thought? I enjoyed my time with this number and personally, think it easily deserves a four star rating. Nice work.