Benjamin Howdeshell debuted his short zombie film Project S.E.R.A. online last year. Since then he’s hooked up with the folks at IGN and expanded on his original, 12-minute idea. The team has cooked up a series of six quick installments—ranging from around seven to ten minutes apiece—the first three of which are now online for your perusal.
Project S.E.R.A. skews a little more towards the sci-fi side rather than just straight-up zombie. More of a conspiratorial thriller, one that happens to have violent, brain-dead cannibals, the series follows Gillian Eames (Julia Voth, Bitch Slap). Her father, a general (Dennis Keiffer), was working on a project to help speed the recovery of injured soldiers. In the middle of their work, the venture was shut down. Turns out the biological agent they developed created a strain of hungry zombie. Gillian, along with Lieutenant Riggins (Derek Theler), have to stop the weapon from being sold and used as a tool to destabilize populations in war zones.
From these three episodes, I’m in. Howdeshell creates great tension throughout, ending each segment with a serious cliffhanger. The plot is more of a mystery than an action movie, and you follow Gillian as she unravels the tangled threads, figuring out who she can and can’t trust. A nonlinear approach to the narrative reveals bits of backstory that creates an emotional component.
The end result is a slick, effective offering that has an edge of both action and political thriller, along with strong sci-fi and horror elements. Maybe not the best thing you’ll ever see, Project S.E.R.A. still delivers a lot in small doses, and is worth tuning in just to watch Voth. She carries herself like a complete badass, more about getting things done than wasting time with pointless talking.
You may also recognize Victor Webster if you’ve been watching Continuum.
New chapters of Project S.E.R.A. will drop every Wednesday on their YouTube channel. Episodes two and three are embedded below.