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Wicked Little Things aka Zombies (2006)

Prey for them.

That's what I get from thinking that a particularly campy zombie flick has made it into my collection... Because although it is a zombie flick, it's not a traditional zombie flick (if you'll excuse the overuse of the term "zombie flick" tonight, I'm working on getting drunk, without much of a success, it seems), and looks... beautiful.

The opening informs us that it's the year 1913 in Addytown, Penssylvania. The exact location? Why, the Carlton Mine, of course... and there's a problem - a problem that requires someone very small in order to handle it. Good thing that child labour was still in fashion back in those days - and a girl is selected. Selected to be crawl into a tunnel and place some TNT.

With the mine in danger of collapsing, the child - Mary - is being left behind in the tunnel, and the cage with the remaining children is caught in the explosive wave* of the TNT as well.

Fade to the black of death and the enclosing darkness of the collapsed mine...

Welcome to the present day.

A mother, Karen Tunny, and her two daughters Sarah and Emma are moving into a new place - Carlton, just right next to Addytown. On their way, their mother nearly runs over a mysterious person - who leaves traces of blood, but none other. Just... disappears. Or maybe not?

The first look at their new house.

Having arriven at their new home, they find out that it is creepy - no electricity, weird ...stuff (that may or may not look like blood) on the door, the emptiness... Honestly, if you ask me? I would love to live in that house. High, wide rooms, wooden panels, gritty walls, hardly any light coming in from the outside... perfect. Just perfect. Then again, I think living in run-down, gritty surroundings that reek of decay and old death is nifty anyways.

They spend their first night there, in what is to be the place they'll call home... but neither do they sleep in piece nor undisturbed. Dreams are interrupting the night's rest the mother had hoped for - or are these dreams reality? What is the stuff on their door - and who is that strange person who leaves through the woods at night?

Whilst supervising the repairs to her house, she finds pictures - pictures of children who worked at the mine. Something with that disaster we witnessed at the beginning of the story just didn't work out... and the dark wood with its impenetrable roof of green night is calling out to the youngest daughter, Emma, with beams of light...

...which does not bode well, for everyone tells them to stay out of the woods and inside the house - especially at night. And Sarah learns that there are zombies up in the hills... those very hills she and her penniless family are living in. And it has something to do with the mine... which Emma nearly entered. Speaking softly into the darkness towards the children's laughter, towards Mary - because she could hear...

Because of Mary... Mary lives in there.

Night falls. Cut... to a man saying an Ave Maria, bleeding...

...apparently to put it on his door. And that of the Tunny widow's house**.

Karen, who went to find Emma and found her daughter, is lost together with her child - and night is falling fast. They stumble across the shed of Aaron - who admits to have been the one who smeared the blood onto the Tunny's door, but insists that Karen doesn't thank him but instead that she come back during the day, so that they can talk.

And that's enough of the plot, at least from my side. I don't want to give away too much... and if you're up to watching a really atmospheric and interesting undead movie for a change to the typical stuff us fans who love flicks with the things that go bump in the night get thrown at... watch Wicked Little Things.

As you might already have inferred from the screenshots, the lighting is incredible. Less so when it comes to the indoor scenes - but the outdoor scenes are really awesome. They're beautiful. Maybe it's that whole "the cyn grew up around woods that are eerily similar to those in this movie"-thing going on again, and granted, this may play a part in my appreciation of the outdoor scenes. But I invite you to judge for yourself - J.S. Cardone, who produced this movie for the "8 Movies To Die For"-Collection (Useless Trivia of the Day: Originally, Tobe Hooper should have done this flick) really managed to make this into a beautiful and deeply atmospheric movie.

It just all works. The lighting, the camerawork, the props - the makeup of the children especially -, the music, the angles, the story. Granted, the story might not be the most original one that was ever written - but it sure as hell is better than that of a lot of other horror movies.

Special mention goes to the makeup of the children - despite my classification of it as a zombie movie, despite its German title (Zombies), and despite the fact that the children actually are zombies of some sort, the makeup is not what you'd expect from a zombie flick, whether traditional or not, whether it features child zombies or not, whether it's atmospheric or not. It's a very basic makeup, one that I particularly like to use as well when I get any chance to do someone's "undead"-makeup, and it's more creepy than any kind of latex-y excess could ever have been in Wicked Little Things.

Also, this movie delivers a few genuinely creepy scenes that created goosebumps on the back of my neck. Kudos for that, it rarely ever happens these days when I'm watching a movie.

I got this movie when I was browsing the local Rock'n'Roll vinyl store (I still need to go there and buy the nifty original copy of the first Stray Cats album... if it isn't gone already...), and the German DVD cover doesn't promise anything more than an at best mediocre zombie flick. But this is better - way better.

Prey... Prey for them.

8.5/10 pale, black-eyed children who enjoy meat as much as I do. And have a similar way of eating it as I do. Ah... joy.

* It's actually not the temperature that makes an explosion deadly, but the force of the particles and the heat extending with extremely high speed. Yes, I wrote a paper on explosives back in school.

** What a waste. What a terrible, terrible waste.

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