Advancements in technology have made filmmaking more accessible for amateurs. You’d be hard pressed to find someone without a camera on their phone with Editing software readily available on most PCs and Macs. For 2018: The Virus, director Ash Wilding has used a unique format to tell his story. He’s used the popular Grand Theft Auto IV game to create his zombie movie.
This technique has allowed him to make a blockbuster action horror with little to no budget. Ash has incorporated gun battles, zombie hordes and helicopters into his film all from the comfort of his own home.
To make a feature in this way is ambitious. The graphics that he is utilising have aged badly in the 7 years since the original game was released. The advantage he has here is that the whole world looks the same. If this was a live action film, poor CGI would be noticeable however in a completely animated world, there is little contrast.
The script, written by Wilding and Matthew Campbell, borrows from established classics such as Day of the Dead and 28 Days Later, but it’s more than a mere copy of their influences. The action is heavy for the first half hour although when the pace slows, the film starts to drag. As we approach the third act, things pick back up.
2018: The Virus is more of a business card than a film. Wilding has shown what he can do with limited resources yet it doesn’t feel like a complete movie. The video game graphics allow for bold set pieces but there is an overall quality lacking that invites comparisons to cut sequences from a computer game. This is a reflection of the visuals more than the talent involved. Wilding and Campbell know how to tell a story and that’s evident from the editing, this hasn’t merely been flung together from existing cuts.
Wilding should be commended for aiming high here however with a near two hour run time, 2018: The Virus could have benefited from some severe editing. A leaner running time would have given Wilding and Campbell more focus to concentrate on their strengths. The credits are a testament to the amount of work that’s been put in here and it’s a project that all involved should feel proud of.
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