With the chilling winds of a pandemic still fresh in our psyche, leave it to the creative minds of independent film to deliver a refreshing and thoughtful take on the zombie genre. WINTERTIDE, directed by John Barnard, is one of the most imaginative zombie films of the year.
Set in a remote, snow-covered town, WINTERTIDE makes the bold choice of attributing the zombie virus outbreak to mounting depression and isolation. As the townspeople retreat further into themselves, they start exhibiting zombie-like symptoms and predatory behaviors. It's a clever and cunning way of building an epidemic narrative around mental health struggles many face during these difficult times.
While the premise is intriguing, WINTERTIDE struggles at times with pacing and providing satisfactory explanations. The plot moves quickly between characters and storylines, which can make it hard to follow or feel fully invested. The ending also leaves many questions unresolved about the nature and cause of the outbreak.
However, it's hard not to appreciate WINTERTIDE's creative approach to the genre. The wintry setting provides an eerie backdrop for the unfolding chaos. And the writers find clever ways to weave in metaphorical social commentary on isolation and depression. I only wish they had taken more time to flesh out the story and characters. I would have loved to see this as a series to explain so many questions.
Overall, WINTERTIDE is a valiant attempt to reimagine the zombie concept for our unique times. While not fully realized, it deserves praise for its imagination and willingness to use horror to reflect real societal fears. I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. Horror fans should check out this chilly thriller and see if its icy atmosphere and themes leave you cold or warm to its unconventional take on a stale genre. Let us know what you think! WINTERTIDE shows there is still life left in the undead.
WINTERTIDE is directed by John Barnard.