Goal of the Dead

Goal-of-DeadThe French football knockout cup has drawn giants Paris Olympique from the top-flight against the amateurs of tiny Caplongue. A regulation cup match with a foregone conclusion, it is the kind of game that barely registers any interest. But for Paris captain Sam Lorit (Alban Lenoir), it has special meaning.

In the twilight of his career now, the veteran striker got his big break in the identical fixture 17 years prior when he was plucked as a talented teenager from the Caplongue ranks and never looked back since.

But the village folk have not forgotten their most famous son. They saw his departure as a betrayal, none more so than Doctor Belvaux (Philippe du Janerand), the father of Sam’s best friend Jeannot (Sebastien Vandenbergh). He has spent the intervening years doping up his son into a player focussed solely on vengeance. When a contaminated batch of steroids turn the now-hulking Jeannot into, well, a zombie – he sets out on the warpath with Sam and the Paris players securely in his sights.

Goal of the Dead is a French comedy/horror that does a lot of things right but in the end fails at being particularly funny or scary. Oddly presented as two parts – a second set of titles runs halfway through to introduce the ‘second half’ – the film takes its time with the set-up and introduces a pretty memorable batch of characters.

These include the young talent Idriss Diago (Ahmed Sylla) on the verge of signing a big-money transfer deal to London United with the help of his douchebag agent Marco (Bruno Salomone), weary journo Solene (Charlie Bruneau), football teen groupie-with-a-secret Cleo (Tiphaine Daviot) and Caplongue’s tiny population of four football hooligans.

These are all well-realised and have excellent interactions without ever being particularly funny. When the zombie outbreak inevitably occurs, though, the film turns into a pretty bog-standard zombie film with the usual sequence of events. These include bailing up somewhere surrounded by the undead, using makeshift weapons and the time-honoured “one of the heroes gets infected.”

The film owes a lot to Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead and, while it mimicks that movie’s tone, it never has quite the same wit or heart. This is despite a hefty six(!) writers being credited. There are some half-hearted attempts to skewer aspects of the footballing world, but there is no real satirical bite present.

What Goal of the Dead does have on its side is that it looks superb. The sequences through the French countryside and the embattled village have a real sense of scale with big, sweeping shots to take it all in. There are flashy slow-mo Matrix-esque shots and the football match itself – all smoke and flares – has atmosphere to burn.

The result is a film that is painless to watch – despite being a bit lengthy – but the lack of laughs make it just a very good-looking entry into a long pantheon of mediocre zombie movies coasting on a gimmick.


Aside from the usual array of trailers, there are also two short French films. These are of the ‘fake grindhouse trailer’ type and are crushingly amateurish and unfunny. Indeed, for one, they didn’t even bother with subtitles or dubbing. Fortunately, people in $2 shop wigs running around fake-vomiting on each other transcends language.

Available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment.


ColinThe post Dawn of the Dead zombie flick has become a well flogged horse scarred by clichés, mediocrity and plagiarism. It’s easy to see why horror fans have become jaded and bored of being fed the same shit year after year. What hope is there when the pioneer of the genre – George Romero – is insulting fans with sub par entries to the cannon like Survival of the Dead? Thankfully every now and then there’s a film that does something a little different and breaks out of the conventions.

In recent years I enjoyed Fido and Zombies Anonymous because they explored the idea of zombies living and interacting in human society. The undead’s arrival on the small screen with The Walking Dead was impressive too especially in regard to it bringing the effects on humanity to the forefront.

My interest perked up when reading the synopsis for Colin and how the story was from the zombie’s perspective. This interest was muted quite a bit by all the spam and a hype campaign that took a page out of the Lucifer Valentine (or whatever the fuck their name is) spammer’s handbook. Colin even made it onto TV news over here and its $75 (or whatever dubious total gets thrown around) budget was marvelled at. I’ve honestly got no idea why people were so amazed at this considering every year there’s plenty of no budget zombie flicks released.

I was dubious going into Colin after this hype/spam surrounding it and snippets of reviews stating shit like it was as “original, compelling and as thought provoking as Night of the Living Dead. Give me a break seriously. A solid independent production for sure (especially after a lot of the atrocities I’ve sat through over the years) with an interesting approach to the genre, but this is hardly the Citizen Kane of low budget zombie flicks.

The film concerns itself with Colin’s (Alastair Kirton) journey into the world of the undead following a fatal attack that causes his demise. We follow Colin as he wonders through the city and encounters different people that give an insight into his past including his sister who is convinced that somewhere inside this retched zombie her brother still lives.

Colin becomes muddled towards the end with its flashbacks and for me the film really starts to drag with its pacing in parts and could’ve done with another run though the editing software. The handheld camera gets quite annoying at times especially in the scenes where there’s conflict with the zombies. I understand that the director is going for a POV shot illustrating the confusion but at times it’s just a mess where you can’t see anything that’s going on.

The repeated reinforcement that it’s a film made for $75 is basically used as the flick’s get out of jail free card when any discussion of its flaws arises. I’ve found that kind of weird when I’ve talked to people about this film. Many people were quick to trash other low budget productions but Colin always gets a reprieve with “but he made it on his computer for $75”. My complaints aside Colin is a film that shows that Marc Price is a director with a lot of promise and it’s great to see a film thinking outside the square in its approach to genre conventions.


  • Director’s commentary