Love is the greatest power in the universe. Within those four simple letters lies a language that transcends barriers of spoken words, a machine that can combat hatred, and a promise of eternal goodness and kindness. Love is within all of us and is a universal symbol of peace and happiness. We all have the capacity for love, and we give it out in varying degrees of magnitude to our friends, family, significant others, coworkers, acquaintances, and, sometimes, perfect strangers. Some loves last for the moment, others last for a lifetime, and still some loves last past “til death do we part.” Dead Lonely is one such story that details a love that crosses the border between life and death.
Fred is lonely. He’s also dead. But what sets him apart from other zombies is his undying love for his girl, Barbara. Before the apocalypse, Fred was head-over-heels for Barbara. Now, as a zombie, he spends his days wandering the world in search of his long-lost love. Like many other zombie stories I’ve reviewed in this blog, Dead Lonely is a “choose your own adventure” tale. However, what makes this one unique is the presentation. Brought together by Rapt Media and Aardman (the creators behind Wallace & Gromit and Shawn the Sheep), Dead Lonely presents us with a fully interactive, animated story of romance. That’s right! This digital story manages to bring the apocalypse to the two-dimensional world of animation where you will help Fred to find his one true love, Barbara.
|Project planning||Is there evidence of solid planning, in the form of story maps, scripts, storyboards, etc.?||This is the first time that I can provide an answer to this assessment trait with actual evidence from the production. After sifting the edges of Google for a new and unique zombie digital story, I not only ran into the story but also a behind-the-scenes video for it, too. The video listed at the bottom of the link is also interactive, allowing the viewer to explore the different modes of creation the production went through. The coolest part about getting to experience the behind the scenes footage is that you do not have to view it in order; the viewer gets to decide what they are interested in and click through those portions of the movie, which uses the same interactivity as the original short film. Since the film is non-linear due to the ability for the viewer to make choices, the storyboard planning was dense and thorough while still allowing an open concept. The story itself was also well researched to bring a new twist to the zombie genre while also successfully bringing in classic references from pop culture. 10/10|
|Content understanding||How well did the student meet the academic goals of the assignment and convey an understanding of the material addressed?||A lot of zombie productions are remixes on former apocalyptic tales, but Dead Lonely is one of the few to bring a new story forth while only hinting at the origins of the zombie genre. Many classic references can be seen in this production such as zombies congregating at a mall, the use of black and white to showcase the early days of the genre, and the use of slow, shambling zombies. At the same time, we get a taste for a more unique storyline amidst all of the references. Not once do we see a living human in this production, only zombies. We only get the zombie perspective on what the end of the world would look like. In all of this, we see this video conveying a solid understanding of the material addressed in the story. 10/10|
|Originality, voice, creativity||How creative was the production? Did the student exhibit an original sense of voice and a fresh perspective?||Never have I seen a zombie story about two zombies who love one another just as much in death as they did in life. Even more-so, I have never seen a story of this type be pulled off via animation. The story of love and zombies are two which are told often, but rarely are they told together as they are in this unique tale. This story also gives us a fresh perspective on choice, as we the viewer are invited to help guide Fred by making choices on his behalf in the video. I have looked at many stories recently that give choice to the humans in a zombie film, but this one forces us to see and make choices through the eyes of an undead corpse. 10/10|
As the Bee Gees once asked, “How deep is your love?” This tale of true love shows us that love really can transcend any barriers we may throw its way. The depth of Fred and Barbara’s love is a captivating plot point that helps to draw in even the most hardened of hearts. And, if for some reason their love is not an inspiring enough reason to continue through this story, the interactivity will draw you in as you find yourself a part of their eternal love story.