4.7/10
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27 user 71 critic

Stalled (2013)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Horror | 25 March 2014 (USA)
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A janitor gets trapped in a women's restroom and encounters an all-out attack by a horde of zombies.

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Dan Palmer ... W.C
... Heather
Tamaryn Payne ... Evie
... Jeff From I.T
... Nick Shanks
Sarah Suzanne Biggins ... Debbie
... Holly
Marcus Kelly ... Charlie (as Mark Kelly)
Victoria Eldon ... Samantha
Chris R. Wright ... Mikey
Rick Edwards ... Operator (voice)
Russell Biles ... Mr. Armitage
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ryan Ayley ... Human Resources Zombie
Matt Brothers ... Agnostic Zombie
Hannah Coley ... Dance Zombie
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Storyline

A janitor gets trapped in a women's restroom and encounters an all-out attack by a horde of zombies.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He's in the perfect place to be scared sh*tless...

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site |  »

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Release Date:

25 March 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Кабинка  »

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Box Office

Budget:

£45,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actor Mark Holden (who plays Jeff from I.T) starred in two zombie movies in the same year; Stalled and World War Z. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
W.C: [Surrounded by the undead in a phone booth] I need the toilet
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Crazy Credits

There is a follow-up scene after the credits. See more »

Connections

References The Return of the Living Dead (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

 
More John Hughes than John Carpenter, a zombie movie that's not exploitational
14 November 2013 | by See all my reviews

I was lucky enough to see this based on the fact I was a huge fan of the team's first feature, FREAK OUT, also written by and starring Dan Palmer and directed by Christian James. This is not quite more of the same - Freak Out was a handmade, home-made movie taking years to film and has confident-low-budget-feel that comes from that kind of production and the somewhat leisurely pace of it. By virtue of it's setting and plotting, STALLED lacks the scope of FREAK OUT which, in the long tradition of horror/monster movies, functioned almost as a travelogue for small towns in general, but it gains in every other area because it is clearly a more professional production, shot on a tight schedule (almost all of it on one set), with more of a cohesive whole.

The writing is a lot more confident - if Freak Out was driven by an infectious craziness - a low-budget British attempt at an early Joe Dante film - this is more like Joss Whedon's writing. There's a heavy emphasis on character, a lot of fun with words and clichés, gratuitous pop culture references (including some very important ones to "Jingle All the Way") and a sweet natured affection throughout. Palmer has called it a cross between "Career Opportunities", a much maligned and neglected John Hughes production about coming of age (it was sort of a riff on both "The Breakfast Club" and "Home Alone", but with a love relationship at the core) and George A. Romero's original "Day of the Dead". The latter influence is almost exclusively on the (extremely) confined environment and the zombie presence - none of that film's ugly nihilism is really present, but much of the former's charm is present and in this day and age, that's more impressive to me. Anyone can now fill the screen with zombies and gore, but how many can actually make you care about the characters, especially when there are really only two of them that matter? With an ensemble cast, peripheral characters can alienate us - with only two characters (one of whom is barely seen, more on that in a sec) the audience is potentially stuck with people they hate - the film pulls this off completely.

Our main character is W.C. (that's an abbreviation of "Water Closet", a term for a toilet in case you missed it...it's a throwaway joke, the film is funnier than that) played by Palmer. I don't want to spoil the movie but he's basically a crook with some reasons - selfish, immature but understandable ones. This movie doesn't really want to be "Attack the Block" (which is fine with me, I hated it) and make some bold social statement, but it does use the underlying tension of that for some neat character business. Think more along the lines of Dante's infidelity in "Clerks" than interpreting the zombies as the supernatural guilt manifestations as in an Edgar Allen Poe story.

The other character is "Evie", and I'm somewhat limited about what I can say about her without spoiling the film. Some of the film she functions as an avatar for W.C. to speak to sight-unseen (think "Wilson" in "Castaway"), and in other scenes has a more profound interaction with W.C. (now think "Wilson" in "Home Improvement", barely glimpsed over the fence). She has an arc of her own that it's not fair to spoil, but let it be said it does get you in the heart and speaks to a pretty neglected section of society. In a sea of "Strippers VS Zombies", "Strippers VS Vampires", "Vampire Zombie Strippers" and "Strippers VS Hookers", this stands apart from the noisy soft-core "dvd premiere" zombie toilet.

There are some problems in the film - the movie was shot digital and has a bit of a synthetic look to it, but the story and writing worked well enough that I didn't mind. The set's convincing, the music fantastic (a Tangerine Dream/Mark Isham's score for the original "The Hitcher" feel) and the zombies serviceable.

There is a moment where I have to wonder why the zombies all exclaim "Brains" in one key scene, not in evidence in the rest of the picture, in the manner of the "Return of the Living Dead" zombies (and every zombie parody from 1985-2000, including The Simpsons and South Park).

I do also think the ending, which most people liked, could've stood to lose the last 20 seconds or so. There's a phone call which wraps up the plot quite neatly and nothing more needed to be done, I have to say I thought it was a development too far, but I'm probably in the minority there. My feeling is simply that when the movie was over, what stayed with me wasn't the brilliance of the concept (epic apocalypse, most mundane and awful seat to watch from) but the writing and characterisation wrung out of such a limited situation and cast. To have that final image felt incongruous with the, yes, journey I went on with the characters. In other words, those final few moments ruined the entire film for me and retroactively made me hate their first film...JUST KIDDING.


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