In 2011, the trailer for the Dead Island video game took the Internet by storm. The video featured two storylines—one from before, one from after a zombie attack on a family staying at the Banoi Hotel. The first storyline was told backwards, while the second flowed forward, with both events meeting at the same point. The trailer was emotionally moving and promoted Dead Island to a mass audience. After two years and a sequel, Dead Island: Ridtide, the original Dead Island trailer has been re-created as a shot-for-shot live-action short film.
Posted on Machinima, the vidoe is absolutely incredible. Although the original didn’t include any gameplay, it was memorable and hard to top. Not even the people at Techland and Deep Silver, the game’s developer and publisher, could re-create the tone and feeling with the sequel, which is ok, but not nearly as gut-punching as the original. The remake, however, comes very close to that initial riveting video.
Call me a traditionalist, but the remake trailer features fast-moving, ravenous zombies, which can be forgiven in a game, but doesn’t quite work in a live-action version. The viewer is left thinking why aren’t the zombies decomposing and why did a zombie take an axe out of his chest. Regardless, the remake plays into the family element, which makes it emotionally heartbreaking.
Director BJ McDonnell made the new Dead Island video. Primarily a steadicam operator, he has worked on movies and shows such as Jack Reacher, Star Trek Into Darkness, and The Walking Dead. McDonnell has only directed one feature film, the third film in Adam Green’s Hatchet series. He’s currently working on the upcoming horror film Penance Lane, which is due sometime in 2014.
The Dead Island video received mostly positive reviews upon its release, but it didn’t capture the imagination as the trailer that promoted the video game, which was called a “budget zombie game” by some online game critics. The franchise spun off into a sequel, a book series, and a comic from Marvel.
If you remember back in 2011, the Dead Island trailer was so widespread and applauded that Lionsgate announced that they were making a live-action feature based promo. The studio issued a press release saying that the movie would be based in the zombie genre and would “focus on human emotion, family ties and non-linear storytelling.”
Producer Sean Daniel (The Mummy, Dazed and Confused) acquired the movie rights in the hopes of creating a new franchise. It’s unclear if this project is still in development, but the adaptation was announced around the same time when Lionsgate acquired Summit Entertainment in early 2012. Needless to say, no new information has been released.