A few weeks ago, I took it upon myself to watch Will Smith’s latest venture into the heart of nepotism, After Earth, a film so torturously insipid that it didn’t warrant a review. It was while I was watching this exercise in sheer ineptitude that I started wondering where the budget for this kind of thing goes. Film budgets, like the weekly salaries afforded to footballers, are something its easy to become desensitised to, but when you actually sit down and think about it, where does the money go? After Earth cost $130 million. That’s £81,240,000. That’s 8,124,000,000p. That’s an awful lot of money to get through without one person (or at least, one powerful enough to sway influence in the court of the Fresh Prince) to say “hang on, this is a tired idea for a film with a clunky script and a lead more wooden than the discount section at B&Q, perhaps this isn’t this isn’t the best use of our money?”
Multimillion dollar CGI budgets and all the star power in the world will only get you so far. The most striking feature of After Earth was its lack of heart; it felt like every facet had been put through the bureaucratic wringer, every decision put to a gender-neutral panel in order to achieve the most diplomatic and inoffensive effect. It’s hard to imagine any one person feeling at all let down by the critical mauling that the film took.
Less is sometimes more; case in point is Moreton-In-Fected (a play on Moreton-In-Marsh, the setting for the series), an amateur series written, filmed, acted, devised, edited (and just about everything else-ed) by a group of aspiring filmmakers from the Cotswolds. Intended as a mini-series comprising of five minute episodes, the show is the complete antithesis of everything the bloated Hollywood blockbuster system has come to represent.
Directed by Finbar Somers and Ben Friedli, Moreton-In-Fected is the story of zombies come to sleepy rural England. Much like predecessor Sean of the Dead, the series entertains the comedic and gory angles with equal glee, as it documents the trials and tribulations of a group of youths trying to survive a Midlands-based outbreak as nonchalantly as possible; “Here’s the plan; go to the Cheese Shop, get some food, then try and find a safe point”.
What’s really impressive about Moreton-In-Fected is the professionalism that runs throughout the production. The script (and its delivery) is naturalistic and believable. The camerawork is varied without being erratic, the editing is equally unobtrusive, and the use of music is fantastic at bringing moments of levity alongside the script.
The first two episodes are available above, with more filming soon, so don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel to stay up to date.