Monday, 8 January 2018

Welcome To Essex — Hmmm …

7th January, 2018.

You know, this morning, I was wondering what to do with myself, this evening.


I’ve got laundry on the go, as we speak.

At least … I’ve got a tumble dryer making tumble drying noises at me, as we speak: and trying to drown out the Jean Michel Jarre album I’ve got on in the background.

I was also wanting to catch a couple of things … 

Maybe get started on some more box-sets.

I’ve quite a lot of American Horror Show serials to get through, more Mr Robot, the second series of Man in the High Castle … 

There’s scads of stuff I’d like to see.

But I thought to myself, “No,” I thought.

“No, I’ll catch a movie,” I thought.

I actually had one lined up.

Yes: you’re right.

I’ve just seen a review copy of a film that’s not been released.

The soon to be finished, and Ryan J. Fleming directed/written zombie Welcome to Essex.

One filmed, in part, in my home town of Brentwood.

Hmmm … 


Welcome to Essex opens in Brentwood’s Job Centre: as recently discharged Army specialist, Ryley Dunn (Catherine Delaloye), finding herself out of work, and out of luck.

And, with the last of her cash?

Getting several beers down her neck.

Only to wake up, hungover, in the middle of a field.

It’s when she get’s back to town, dragged into a bin by Muzzy (Muzzy Tahir), as hordes of undead stream past their hiding place … 

It’s only when she sees her local bar — Murphy’s Sports Bar* — empty that her suspicious are raised.

It’s only when — hiding in Eclipse† — she meets fellow survivors that she realises something has gone seriously wrong


Now … 

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, “Paul, was it any good?”

I’m going to you give a straightforward answer.


But add qualifications: based on the very simple fact I know I’ve seen the second rough, pre-release, cut: one that Reviewers like me would see, before the film  is finished.

Welcome to Essex is far from perfect: I’m thinking the sound levels‡ and synchronisation could do with a lot of work, the grain and colours don’t necessarily match up from one scene to the next.   The characters — at least initially — don’t get named until relatively late in the film: and — in the case of Sergeant Aherne (Greg Burridge) — don’t get named all, from what I could see.

There’s also the small but minor fact that the film’s ending leaves Ryley’s opening narration pretty redundant.

No, really redundant.

Unless I’m missing something.


I’m also aware that Smoking Monkey Productions are due to release Welcome to Essex at some point, this month.

And that any final editing that they can transform this into a good film.

Welcome to Essex isn’t that good film: yet.


There’s humour in the dialogue, the basic — if uncomplicated — plot is there, and the massed zombies^ don’t look too bad: given Welcome to Essex seems to have been made on half a shoestring budget.

Many years ago, I watched a film called Absentia: which made me think of the various demos John Peel used to get sent by various bands.   It was one I felt was very amateur: but showed us the potential of the people involved in its making.   I felt in made an interesting introduction to the folks involved.

Welcome to Essex, likewise, isn’t stunning.

But enough basics are there: that tell me it’s on the way.

Welcome to Essex?

Isn’t good.   

But is a good demo tape.

   Is a good introduction to Smoking Monkey Productions.

Welcome to Essex

*       Yes, it is a real pub, and just around the corner from me: at least, it was.   It’s now a restaurant called CKN.

†        Yep, another local pub: now closed, I believe.   It was, though, on Ongar Road: in what used to be The Castle.

‡        Basically, the dialogue seemed a touch too loud compared to any background or music: and seemed to be a fraction out of sync with the actor’s mouth movements.   I DO know I had buffering issues, watching the later parts of the film: but this seemed to affect, before the major slow down.

^        About a thousand extras were used, if I recall what I read in the Brenwood Gazette about it, back in 2013.

1 comment:

Nik Nak said...

That’s one thing I did notice: that the film is due a DVD release, this month.

I’m assuming the producers mean they’ll be releasing it on DVD on Blu-ray: and to the various on-demand services, like iTunes, Netflix And Amazon Prime.

But also think it’s a shame they couldn’t secure a theatrical release.