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Portrait Of A Zombie


Portrait Of A Zombie is a 2012 Irish horror film directed by Bing Bailey and shot on location in Finglas,Dublin.

The film begins with Danny Murphy being approached by a documentary film crew asking him about his son Billy (also known as ‘The Zombie Boy') and about the events of last year. As Danny is interviewed and the story unfolds we see old interview clips of Danny and his wife Lizzie, their other daughter and son, angry neighbours, local gangsters and Billy's heavily pregnant girlfriend Aoife.

Aoife talks about how great things used to be when they first met at the meat plant where they both worked and she's certain it's there that Billy caught this disease. After a while the film crew venture upstairs in the Murphy's home and we get to see Billy - tied to his bed, wrapped up in a straightjacket and wearing a big muzzle over his face. In this disturbing scene we see just how far gone Billy is and judging by his restraint his parents know how dangerous he could be if he got loose.

We then see how Billy's family have to bring him out in the backyard to hose him down as it is too dangerous to bath him normally, much to their neighbours annoyance as they complain about the smell and the risk of Billy escaping. Then after some interviews with the parish priest, doctors who are trying to treat Billy and even funny rant from a member of the Irish Vegetarian Society we're told by Billy's brother Darren about how he and his sister were kicked out of school for fear of infection. While all these interviews are taking place and the attention is focused mainly on Billy and his family there seems to be a zombie outbreak occurring in the same area, as we learn from the local gangsters who take the film crew on a zombie killing spree.

I could go on and spoil the whole film by telling you who dies and how but I won’t (One of the main characters meets a particularly gory, gruesome & disturbing demise), I'll tell you the goods and bads of Portrait Of A Zombie. It’s well acted, especially Billy's parents who portray typical loving parents who love their son no matter what. You feel Billy could have been anything from a serial killer to a terrorist and they would still love him the same. The American director comes across as a real evil bastard who is only out for himself and he does it well, you hate him more and more throughout the film. The locations are great and really show the grime of inner city Dublin. The zombie make-up and gore FX are great, not only for an Irish production but are some of the best I’ve seen in any zombie film for a while. The film itself is really good I thought, really well made and the story while not being entirely original it did put an interesting spin on the zombie yarn and kept me interested from start to finish. My only complaint about the film is that while it is mostly compiled of interview footage there is a regular film being shown between all the interviews but it is shot the exact same without any difference in tone or quality so it is hard at times to tell which scenes are the actual film and which scenes are from the found footage. Maybe even a tint of grain or a little 'REC' in the top corner during the interview scenes might have told them apart a little better.

But other than that little peeve of mine I really enjoyed Portrait of a Zombie and I’m happy to see another good horror film emerge from this little emerald isle of ours and hope to see more in the future. I highly recommend it to fans of zombie cinema everywhere.