Harold (Stan Rowe) is an old age pensioner, suffering from O.R.D. or the onset of rigor disease. He can't get out and about as much and gets forgetful. Then there's the stiffness. He can't even touch his nose. What is the ultimate effects of O.R.D.? Well, it turns you... into a zombie. And it's affecting more and more UK males. Enter Penny, (Sarah Spencer) a cheerful, dedicated but lonely nurse, as his care helper. She'll engage in therapy with him, to delay the disease's effects. However, during the onset of the disease's later stages, loss of mental faculties and violent behaviour is inevitable. Already there have been reports of attacks, which prompts a trio of baseball bat wielding vigilantes to patrol the area, taking down any errant zombie they happen to find. Meanwhile, Harold is still getting by, and starting a tentative friendship with Penny. Will a cure be found? Or will Harold have to be taken out like so many before him?
I just caught this at the Edinburgh Dead By Dawn festival, and all I can say is... wow. Harold's Going Stiff is the most original zombie film I've personally seen, and I've seen quite a few. Shot in a realistic mockumentary style and not precisely a horror per se, it's a character driven cross section of genres, from horror, to (very funny) comedy, to sad bittersweet drama. It also highlights the very real horror of growing old, lonely and with a loss of dignity, with some poignant scenes.
I have always thought that having a very very low budget is no excuse to make a bad film. Harold's Going Stiff simply confirms this opinion for me.
A highly, highly recommended film, with some great performances, laugh- out-loud scenes, as well as some astutely observed poignancy, it should be sought out by anyone.
I really hope this film gets a DVD release as it thoroughly deserves one and director Keith Wright should hold his head up proud, as this is one of the best British "horrors" in the past three years, and a very welcome return to form for the UK.
9/10, brilliant film.
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