Directed by Chee Keong Cheung. Starring Oris Erhuero, Carlos Gallardo, Jishua Dickinson. Horror, UK 2018, 118 mins, Cert 18.
Released in the UK on DVD, Blu-Ray and VoD on 25th February by Intense distribution
It’s clear that Danny Boyle’s 28 DAYS LATER was a starting point for REDCON-1, as we’re introduced to a London that has been quarantined following an outbreak of a virus. Equally, those that have contracted the virus are not ‘zombies’ in the traditional sense - we learn they’re more co-ordinated, can be killed, and, in one scene, watch pornography and engage in S&M sex.
The shots of a deserted London are eerily effective as a team of soldiers is sent into the zone to extract a doctor who may well hold the cure. From here on in we are thrown into a mixture of infected v uninfected fight scenes which are at times over-edited and at others, impressively choreographed. Meanwhile, a literal ticking clock reminds us of a plan to obliterate the entire area.
There’s panic on the streets of London as other factions come into play, loyalties are tested and individuals turn on one another. And this only takes us through the first half when a somewhat ridiculous revenge twist sends those characters who have survived in a new direction.
The fights continue to break out and the death toll rises while the plot developments start to become increasingly more contrived and often tedious. Despite the best intentions, the emotional beats do not resonate as they might, a fact that can be attributed to the the films extended length and high body count which quickly strain the patience.
There is little doubt that at the heart of REDCON-1 is an attempt to make an affecting, eclectic and somewhat unique entry into the zombie sub-genre. Unfortunately, by doing too much it fails to connect on a basic level and ends up being over long and subsequently unengaging. While the actors work as hard as they can with the material and there is little doubting some of the technical skill behind the camera, but there’s too much of everything, ironically resulting in a somewhat vacuous experience.
BLU-RAY EXTRAS – These include the standard ‘Behind the scenes’ documentary, interviews with the cast and crew, trailers and idents, a photo gallery and ten minutes of deleted scenes.