What happens to the soul when a human being dies? Moreover, what happens to the soul when a human being becomes one of the walking dead? Both of these questions invite sensitive conversations usually involving religion, science, or philosophy. Yet, despite decades of talk, both of these questions remain to have a definitive answer; some people believe one thing while others believe another, and still others have no beliefs at all. Because of this, filmmakers and writers that dwell in the zombie genre have used these questions to fuel their work and provide an even more controversial look into the soul and its destination once the body stops classifying as alive.The First Wave does just that. In an attempt not to give too much away, I will leave you with one final thought before viewing my critique below: what would it feel like if the soul really did stick around despite the status of the body?
|Story||How well did the story work? This trait can address structure, engagement, character transformation or any of the other qualities of story discussed in Part II. In fact, an entire rubric can be devoted to evaluating the quality||The character building in this story proves vital to the other story elements present in this short film. The confusion and mystery surrounding her story arc and the small reveals in detail are important in helping to understand her struggle in this post apocalyptic world; helping the viewer to recognize the same internal conflict she feels. These details are also effectively spaced out to give the audience a sense of being a detective – allowing the viewers to piece together the information to discover that Allison is a human filled with pain and regrets after being brought back from being a zombie. Finally, the idea that her soul had been with her throughout the process of zombification and then throughout her rehabilitation process provide a unique spin on the more traditional zombie stories that choose to only focus on survival. 10/10|
|Content understanding||How well did the student meet the academic goals of the assignment and convey an understanding of the material addressed?||Where other zombie movies tend to feature the issues of soul as a side note in their feature films, The First Wave tackles it as the main driving force for the plot. The idea that people can come back from being a zombie and the complications of it thereof are so eloquently addressed in the overall tone, the non-verbal cues of the lead character, the mystery of the plot, and the intensity of the reveal. The creators understand the controversy behind such a thought and tease the audience with small details throughout that build to the final crescendo of the performance that brings it all together. 10/10|
|Flow, organization and pacing||Was the story well organized? Did it flow well, moving from part to part without bumps or disorientation, as described in Part III?||The story had a very purposeful flow which allowed the final reveal to be so impactful on the viewer. The mystery surrounding the story and the questions it raised from flash back to flash back helped to build understanding for the follow-up scenes. Some disorientation could have been caused with the faintness of the radio announcer as mishearing this information can cause the viewer to have to really question the final scene in order to really understand why we’ve been focused on Allison and her torment for so long. 9/10|
By far, this is one of the most unique zombie stories that I have had the pleasure of viewing. As I have been more exposed to digital stories in the zombie genre, I am starting to realize that some of the best stories are not full feature length movies. A lot of the stories I’ve viewed are far shorter, and I feel that this really forces the people behind these tales to be more selective with their creativity. There is little room for filler so the details and plot choices that are included are vital elements to the story. The shortness also forces some details to be left out, and, in deciding what to omit, the makers help guide the audience to be participants in the story – filling in the gaps for themselves with the clues that have been included. The soul of this story resides in these elements, just as the soul of Allison still resides within her in her next chapter of life.