Portrait of a Zombie (2012) Poster

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Good in its own way, but...
paul_haakonsen19 December 2013
It should be said that the approach to the zombie genre seen in "Portrait of a Zombie" is indeed new and innovative. However, that doesn't necessarily make it great.

The movie had potential, and if it had a bigger budget the movie would indeed have been so much more than it was. I must say that "Portrait of a Zombie" turned out to be a rather ambitious amateurish project. But it was still enjoyable enough for what it was - and for what it turned out to be.

The storyline in "Portrait of a Zombie" is about a family that have a zombie at home, their son Billy. The neighborhood is in uproar and the family still treats him as being alive and still being their son.

Story-wise, then there were aspects to the story that were alright, but in overall, it wasn't memorable.

What really needed more detail, work and better execution was the make-up and effects of the zombies. It was basically just make-up added to people's faces, and of course they committed the ultimate flaw here; forgetting about the neck and ears. So the face had make-up and special effects applied, while the neck and ears were left in proper skin tones. It is just such a bad mistake to make.

The gun effects in the movie were just atrocious, and the movie would have fared so much better if they had opted not to have guns in the movie at all. If you are going to do guns, at least have them done right.

And the way that Billy was moving just didn't go well with me, it looked like a crippled duck trying to dance break-dance. It was just awful.

The acting in the movie was actually good, given what the actors and actresses had to work with.

But for a movie of this production value, I will still applaud director Bing Bailey for managing to get this on its feet and turn it into what it was. If you enjoy zombie movies, then "Portrait of a Zombie" is definitely worth watching a single time, because of its unique approach to the zombie genre. However, just don't get your hopes up for a next Romero movie in the making.
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A clever take on the genre
pierrotfilms13 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film at CineQuest film festival last week. I'm not much of a horror/zombie fan - but I found this film really worked for me. It's a clever take on the genre.

(spoiler) The use of the documentary crew enabled the filmmaker to examine various cultural issues in the film. It's this angle that elevates it above a mere 'meat eating frenzy'. It was clever, funny, relevant and yes - horrifying in turns.

The production values were above average for a small indie-budget. You can tell every penny they had went up on the screen.

If you are a fan of horror, zombie or 'mocumentary' films - don't miss "Portrait of a Zombie".
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every family is different...
gcdbrown18 September 2012
I seen this at the opening of the Underground Cinema film festival last week – I believe it won and I am not surprised. It's a mock documentary with a twisted sense of humor about a film crew from the US documenting the day to day life of a family in Dublin whose eldest son is a zombie. Its like Shaun of the Dead meets Spinal Tap only a whole lot grittier (is that a word?).

Some of the scenes take the zombie theme to a whole new level – for me anyway. Although its an independent movie the characters are very well developed especially the father – when he speaks his heart to the camera – the mother (mothers believe in their children but not usually to this extent – you have to see this) & the American in charge of the film crew – excellent. I also liked the Zombie's younger brother and how his issues were almost like that standard older brother/younger brother dynamic.

Very creative & enjoyable and I would guess a cert 15 if not 18… enjoy.
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American movie crew films a day in the life of an average Dublin family whose son is a zombie.
pamkelly1-747-77491225 July 2013
I am not usually a big fan of zombie movies. I did, however, really like this one, which I saw at the Newport Beach Film Festival. This is not your traditional zombie movie. It is intelligent, well-acted, has depth and just a bit of satire and the undercurrent of social commentary. This is mainly due to the excellent script, the wonderful Irish actors and the deft direction/editing by Bing Bailey (and his wife Laura, who co-wrote the script). I met Bing at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, but wasn't able to see it there, so I traveled down to the Newport Festival and was really glad I did. Can't wait for Bing's next film.
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Portrait of Yet Another Bad Zombie Apocalypse Movie
Stevieboy66613 September 2019
An American film maker documents the daily life of Billy the zombie and his family in working class Dublin during a zombie outbreak. For a start these zombie apocalypse movies have been done to death - and then some! It became boring years ago for me. But at least here there is a slightly new spin on the sub-genre. This is a very low budget movie so obviously this must be taken into account when reviewing. The acting varies from acceptable (Billy's parents) to dire (female character known as AD, I think she is meant to be an American but clearly is incapable of hiding her Irish accent!). Despite being in the midst of an apocalypse the budget obviously did not stretch to any military or police presence, it is down to local gangsters played by bad actors to save the non-infected!! The gory make-up was pretty decent and the film has an effective musical score, how many movies can boast musicians "Slow News Day in the Vampire World" on their credits?? Don't get me wrong, the film makers did a reasonable job considering the low budget and obviously lack of talent, but these rave reviews should be taken with a large dose of salt! I certainly could not give this a repeat viewing.
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Just sayin....!
meg-590-23059923 June 2014
Awesome! A different take on the Zombie Genre! You find your self immersed in the story, wondering what you would be thinking if you were part of the crew filming this family. Also seeing it from the perspective of the family and what caring for a "special" family member would entail, can you even imagine? Makeup and effects for this movie were top notch, and they should be congratulated for their creativity in creating such horror! There is a humor here that compliments rather than detracts from the mood of the film, in a way it is more shocking to hear such normalcy in such a bizarre predicament it really speaks to the human side of us. Perfect movie for summer viewing, in the dark, with popcorn and a flashlight. The actors were the embodiment of their Parts (no pun intended), I can't imagine any other actor playing the mom, Geraldine McAlinden is fantastic! Congratulations to the Director for his different Point of View! To the Writers for the fantastic story, and to the cast and crew for a job well done! A must see!
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nogodnomasters9 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This film is done documentary style and is heavy into interviews. The movie opens with glimpses of news headlines. We know the meat is tainted. People have a virus and eat flesh and something about the Goat's Head pub.

We discover the Murphy family wants to care for their son Billy, who as been turned into a zombie. This causes problems with the neighbors who want all zombies dead and gone. While the film has some zombie action, it is at a painfully slow pace.

No subtitles.

Parental Guide: F-bomb. No sex or nudity.
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unbearably amateur
dholliday-imdb8 March 2015
The first few minutes were promising: the documentary tone and the determined family looking after their zombie son seemed to set up a coming apocalypse or at least brutal family tragedy.

Well, we did get that tragedy and apocalypse yet nothing about the 'film' changed...it continued its boring-as-hell documentary style, sometimes switched to 'cinema' style (tho' it was filmed exactly the same way).

Lots of things wrong with this utter waste of time:

  • people talking into the camera, constantly, is simply dull.

  • no sense of how to use music...it was all over the place.

  • very poor sound effects. As with the music there's no UMMFF!

  • roly-poly choreography. Your average kid playfights with more conviction than the 'fight' scenes offered up here.

  • cheap-looking zombie masks...you see better at Halloween parties.

  • no sense of drama or pacing at all. Certainly no sense of horror.

  • the attempts at humour probably looked witty on paper, but it just didn't work. It was all too self-aware.

  • extremely poor camera work & uninspired lighting. Random focus and constant irritating shaking to hide the lumbering 'action'. I use cameras myself and could've guaranteed a more engrossing experience: you need to consider the angles, lighting, choreography and timing the camera movements, not to mention solid sound mixing and editing.

  • the one single attempt at shock-gore fell so awfully flat.

  • the only definable character was the mother, and she was only playing a two-dimensional mother archetype.

The actors themselves displayed at least a modicum of ability, certainly competent enough to be in a far better film, but there were too many of them. The 'gangster' characters were especially pointless.

For a budget of 100k you can do a lot more, better to go for less cheapo make-up and fewer cast members, and focus on the cinematography with a good editor. See "Rammbock", which had a similar budget.. It's not great but good enough to showcase directorial talent for future projects.

1 point for the idea, but there's nothing else to score it, making this probably my only 1/10 film, and teaching me a valuable lesson not to impulse-buy titles I've never heard of from the cheap bins.
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ordinary, decent zombies
loubaileycondron22 August 2013
Portrait of a Zombie is a witty re-imagining of the well worked undead theme. In this feature, an ordinary, working class family must deal with the fall out from their son's transformation to a zombie. What sets this piece apart from others is the down-to- earth feel, as if zombification were just another in a long line of working class problems. It is pretty difficult not to sympathise and empathise with Billy, the zombie son and his family and friends as they try to come to terms with the new situation. Billy's parents are central, unifying characters in the movie and the superb acting of Geraldine MacAlinden in particular brings a touch of humanity to tale. The sombre theme is elevated to pure black magic by the inclusion of witty, biting dialogue. POAZ will not disappoint hardcore horror fan. There is plenty of blood, goo and brain eating. However, some of the gore is strictly for those with an iron stomach. If you want a taste (sic!) of the real Ireland , infused with zombie apocalypse, Portrait is the one for you.
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Innovative, great composition, post work, actors A+
Bciaramello-318-60597326 December 2018
This film was a great example of what you can do with great talent and a small budget. The carraavgio coloration, the actors fanstastic performances and the directors skillful look combined with a very witty narrative made this film a unique and entertaining experience I thoroughly enjoyed
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Clever, Fun, Plenty Gross
stephenjonesnyc25 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The screenplay, documentary-style, and earnest delivery bring out the absurdity and bleak humor of the situation... parents defending and caring for their zombie son. No doubt some will object to the fatalistic Irish stereotype or the over-the-top narcissistic American stereotype, but for a genre film, these parts are written with cleverness and acted with depth. Especially the mother and father, with very solid performances. I don't want to get too deep myself here (it's a zombie flick), but the overall look and design are well-thought-out and accomplished too. While it's funny in parts, it is definitely darker than Shaun of the Dead - particularly at the end. The last 20 minutes or so are increasingly desperate and bloody, and less ha-ha funny (unless you're the kind of fan who laughs at these things). If you're looking for gore and the "oh no, not him too, not her too!" moments, the end will certainly satisfy. Recommended.
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