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It’s quite possible that zombie films will one day outnumber every other kind of film, and it’s getting harder to differentiate the dreck from the gold. Luckily, Irish director David Freyne came up with a wise method of attracting potential audiences for his upcoming debut feature The Third Wave. He filmed a quality six-minute prequel called The First Wave, which Tilted Pictures recently released in anticipation for the upcoming thriller. If the full-length release looks and feels anything like this, genre fans are going to be plagued by dark glee.
If we’re being frank here, The Third Wave isn’t actually a zombie film, as the mindless villains are actually infected people rather than the undead. In that way, it’s closer to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later… than The Walking Dead, and while we try to be purists here at GFR, there’s a completely different connotation people get from the description “outbreak horror.” In any case, it’s better to focus on a film’s details rather than any limiting tags.
The First Wave centers on Allison (Jane McGrath), a young woman who wakes up in a hospital and discovers she is the first human to have been cured of the virus that turned much of the Irish population into zombified monsters. But just because she is cured physically doesn’t mean her mental state is as intact as it was to begin with. She has memories of turning, of killing, and experiences something that resembles PTSD. (GFR Homework: Come up with your own clever way to incorporate her affliction with that abbreviation. Five points wins the game or something.)
This is the conceit informing The Third Wave, that surviving such a life-altering experience is not necessarily the optimal path one might choose, and the societal impact involved with being cured. The film will follow two friends, Senan and Conor, who are cured and released into a country that is tearing itself in half. One is welcomed home while the other is rejected, and both of their lives continue to be informed by the atrocities they were a part of.
The rehabilitation side of zombiedom has been covered recently on the BBC series In the Flesh and the movie Warm Bodies, but there are a lot of different ways to tell this story. The pretty excellent short above has me convinced Freyne is equipped to take us to some enjoyably uncomfortable places.
Production is supposed to begin on The Third Wave at some point later this year. You can follow the film’s progress via its Facebook page. If you’re interested in curing yourself of boredom for the next few minutes, check out one of Freyne’s other short films, the inspired found-footage send-up Handheld Horror Take 6.