Directed By Elias Matar
Screenplay By Elias Matar, Edward E. Romero
Produced By Elias Matar, Aaron Ockman, Kim Ogletree
Starring Brian Krause, Kadeem Hardison, Barbara Nedeljakova, Sierra Fisk
A brilliant, obsessive doctor working for a cure for AIDS, unwittingly invents an aggressive new bacteria that deteriorates the body and enrages the mind. Now he must stop the infection before it destroys him and everyone he loves!
Now and again a film comes out of nowhere that takes you by surprise! When I was informed of this film via email from one of our loyal readers, I have to be honest and admit that I was not expecting much! To say I owe the Film Director Elias Matar an apology is an understatement, but here it is, Elias Matar– I am sorry!
Ashes is one of the most original horror films I have seen for many a year. It takes a genre that is so dominate at the moment and makes a whole new spin on it that you can not help but be left breathless! With The Walking Dead doing great guns on Television and thanks to Shaun Of The Dead creating a new wave of films jumping on the bandwagon including last years Zombieland, you may sigh at yet another mention of an undead movie coming your away but Ashes is different! It takes place right before the chaos emerges, how mankind suffers from the backlash of the dead rising from their grave and it all surrounds a man, not just any man, but a good person, someone who just wants to do good for his human race. But Ashes shows that any good intention can backfire and for Dr Stanton his good deed could bring the end of the world!
Stanton played by Brian Krause is one of the most dedicated in his field! He works long hours, sees every patient possible and is one of the most respected Doctor’s around, basically he is a great person who will help anyone in need even though the high demand he sets himself means he does not spend much time with his wife and daughter. The neglect of his family life is not just for the job he does but also for the research he is doing on a special Vaccine that may cure AIDS if given the chance! All Stanton wants is to do the right thing and when a young boy gets brought into the hospital after a Jellyfish sting which puts his life in peril Stanton decides there and then that this poor child should be given a chance in life and injects him with his vaccine! But the boy suffers a reaction and goes into shock, biting Stanton on the arm,of course anyone who has seen enough films of this nature will know the direction that Ashes is going, but I have to put my hand up and say that the journey is well worth the wait!
What I loved most and I am telling you there is so much to admire of this film, is that for a horror film with Zombie set at its core, the action is very quiet, the lack of gore-porn is a refreshing change to the many films that are dominating the market and for that Matar has to applauded for his stance on making sure Ashes is a story worth telling! It would have been easy to just have Stanton turn into a flesh eating creature attacking all the nurses and everyone who stands in his way, but what we see is a breakdown of a man who is losing control of his existence!
Even after the bite, the film slowly goes back to the family life, there is no rush to sell out to the horror crowd, this is intelligent film making and a hark back to the days when horror films relied on good old fashioned scares! Matar refuses to show his hand, instead builds up the suspense to an astonishing high level and not only is the direction superb from the first frame to the last, the film also owes incredible debt to Krause who carries the whole picture and makes you feel for his plight! As Krause is in virtually every scene, its important that we the viewer believe in this character because if we don’t the film fails, but somehow he delivers what is his finest performance and no doubt will be in the top three for our HCF Movie Awards for best actor at the end of the year!
Its not only Krause who delivers, the entire supporting cast are memorable from Kadeem Hardison whose Matthew stands side by side of Stanton in their mission to rid the world of this disease and they scenes together show a huge amount of chemistry that sparks on screen!
Another mention must go to the beautiful Sierra Fisk who underplays her character of Nicole really well! This is a woman married to a doctor who may be the saviour of the world and yet while she admires his work and what he can achieve, there is just a part of her that wants him to be a proper husband, someone she can share a life with!
As you can read, Ashes is more to do with an issue of a family man that that of brain eating Zombie but what is wrong with that? Last year’s fantastic House Of The Devil showed that there was still a market for horror films that make you think and there is no doubt in my mind Ashes is this year’s main template!
It is hard to find anything new for a Zombie movie but Matar somehow manages to, delivering a stunning film in which we witness the begining and not the middle of a well worn formula! Its a movie that needs to be discovered because its simply one of the best horror films of the year and one that puts Elisa Matar on a path that I eagerly await to follow!
And for those readers still unsure about seeing this,
To put it better terms!
Ashes is simply the best Zombie film to come out in many years!