The ReZort Coming Soon To The EIFF

Rezort-dougray-scottThe ReZort  is a slick and contemporary thrill ride offering a fresh twist on the zombie film genre, starring Dougray Scott, Jessica De Gouw, Martin McCann, Elen Rhys, Claire Goose and Jassa Ahluwalia. It is directed by Steve Barker  and was written by Paul Gerstenberger.

Following a near apocalyptic zombie outbreak, humans now have the upper hand and life has returned to relative normality with only an occasional reminder or mention of recent horrific events. Most people wouldn’t even blink at seeing a zombie now. They know how to handle them. It’s no big deal because humans fought and won the battle and are in control again.

The latest craze in this post zombie-outbreak world is the Zombie Safari: it is the newest and coolest thing in adventure holidays – a chance to go out and shoot the undead in the wild. The ultimate test in action and adventure, the ultimate blood sport and, to many, the ultimate in therapeutic revenge. But unbeknownst to most that go on Zafari, the park is a highly controlled and monitored environment; a maze of concealed security cameras, restraints and barriers. The eyes and ears of trained security personnel are on the guests – and the zombies 24/7, always ensuring a safe shooting distance between the living and the undead. Nothing is left to chance. Nothing is unplanned. So far…

stills_the_rezortThe zombie movie genre is a popular one, with examples ranging across the decades from George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead to the TV phenomenon The Walking Dead as well as more comedic interpretations like Life after Beth and parodies like Shaun of the Dead. However, Gerstenberger was inspired to do a film with a new take on the genre, setting the story in a world after the humans have won the war against the zombie apocalypse and exploring how humanity would recover after such a huge percentage of the population has been wiped out. Gerstenberger relates this to the years after World War II, where there was a generation who had lived through one of the most violent periods in human history with the irrecoverable aftermath on culture and the individual, juxtaposed with a younger generation born after the War, with no understanding of that reality or the lessons it held for society.

According to Gerstenberger, the film explores the repetitive and cyclical nature of “man’s hubris. We get overconfident, we ignore the risks and we get our comeuppance.” A process humanity is doomed to continuously repeat. “I was a huge fan of Michael Crichton and his tech thrillers, like Jurassic Park and Westworld”, says Gerstenberger. ”So those were some of the influences [in writing this].” The parallels to both films are clear, in that The ReZort is set in a Safari Park on an island, where an environment is created for entertainment for visitors to interact with unnatural entities, but eventually become overrun by the inhabitants under containment. Added Gerstenberger: “The zombie theme park essentially meant that we could have fun with the concept and the themes as well as the hidden messages about society” within the film.

However, the writer was keen not to make the film too serious, but rather maintain some of the humour inherent to many zombie and horror films: “I’m not a huge fan of gruelling horror. I like to have fun when I’m at the cinema”. Added Jassa Ahluwalia, one of the stars of the film, The ReZort could be described as “Jurassic Park with Zombies”, however, “There is a lot of stuff in there if you’re looking out for it in terms of social commentary, parody and satire. But at the end of the day, it’s a lot of fun”.

The ReZort will screen at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on the 17th and 18th of June.

John McArthur
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