DAWN OF THE DEAF
Directed by Rob Savage
Hey reader, seen many good movies with a deaf protagonist? Probably not, except maybe Hush or See No Evil, Hear No Evil. How about ones where they get to kick some undead arse? Director Rob Savage’s new short, Dawn of the Deaf, is a zombie film with a difference. As per The Cell of The Signal, the horde come about via an electric pulse. However, in an empowering twist, the only ones not infected are hard of hearing. Cue many intriguing possibilities where the characters’ advantage is their ‘disability’.
It’s difficult to comment on the plot without giving it all away since it’s only 12 minutes long (including credits). Though in this brief time it does a commendable job setting up a universe and showing satisfying arcs. Along the way, it also highlights, for mainstream audiences, a few of the difficulties the deaf community face on a day to day basis. All of these scenes are engaging in themselves. Yet when the pulse itself strikes, during a genuinely innovative and affirming relationship scene, Savage quickly escalates the tension to great effect.
Though it’s a low budget movie you’d never know it. There’s a solid aesthetic during both the menacing and tender scenes alike, some strong acting by members of London’s deaf acting community, and a smartly put together soundtrack. In particular the shots where we see numerous bodies lain to waste in familiar London spots, for which I imagine the 500+ extras got up very early, are incredibly eerie. And then they rise, and start chowing down, we see the first sign the director can handle his gore too.
Whilst it’s an accomplished short in its own right, Dawn of the Deaf is a statement of intent, and proof of concept, to get interest in a feature. As such, if it seems like your thing then please support it. You can like it on Facebook or follow on Twitter and help get the word out. Or better yet, watch it. Having recently shown at Fright Fest, it’s also screening and up for awards at other festivals including BFI London Film Festival, Encounters and Fantasia among others. So if you’re going to any be sure to look it out. The Girl With All The Gifts now has a contender for British zombie flick of the year.