During 365 Days of the Dead I reviewed a short called I RAN FROM A ZOMBIE, a student film distinguished by its charming humor and a lack of insufferable self-indulgence. Director Matt Hatchard dropped me a line recently to inform me he’s released a follow-up, another zombie short called NIGHTMARE AT THE COLWELL CENTRE.
Produced before I RAN, Hatchard tells me COLWELL CENTRE was rushed to completion for a school deadline and sat on the shelf a few years before the more cringe-inducing moments could be ironed out. And he did a good job of it, too, as the short doesn’t bear the marks of a troubled production. It’s fairly slick, especially given its student origins.
As for the story, bumbling security guard Doyle and janitor Yan are working the night shift at a shopping mall when they find themselves besieged by a sudden influx of the living dead. No, it’s not a terribly novel idea, but Hatchard tips his hat to Romero in several instances without the winking self-satisfaction of fanboy films, and brings enough of his own material to balance the homages. The humor is broad slapstick and largely enjoyable, especially the bits involving an elderly wheelchair-bound zombie woman.
NIGHTMARE AT THE COLWELL CENTRE was a lot of fun. Zombie enthusiasts will want to nibble.