OK, so it's strictly not a movie, but it's origins started out that way. Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist) originally had this graphic novel pegged as a movie but, thank the heavens, it was turned into a series. The scope from Robert Kirkman's still-continuing graphic novel is immense and with it celebrating it's 13th volume, there is far too much to try and cram into a 2 hour film adaptation.
First time viewers may be forgiven for thinking it just another "28 DAYS LATER" rip-off when we're introduced to the zombie-like plague through the confused eyes of Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) who wakes up from a bullet-induced coma to find that the world he knows has gone well and truly down the bedpan. However, what all zombie outings do is deal with a group of people struggling to survive and then it ends with the few survivors heading out of a scrape only to into another scrape. The Walking Dead rolls it's sleeves up and asks exactly what happens to people who survive the outbreak but find themselves in a place where society and it's rules no longer are relevant - it's not just surviving flesh-eating parasites, but surviving from lack of sleep, food, communication, comforts and hope... this is strong stuff indeed!
Recent fare has lifted the zombie experience from the dolldrums - "ZOMBIELAND" "28 DAYS LATER" to name a few - and The Walking Dead takes that torch and runs with it. The dead seem to have different speeds depending on what state their festering bodies are in; some shuffle and some are much quicker, and more deadly...especially when in numbers and all riled up!
It's a short first season (6 episodes only) that right from the get-go decides to not scrimp on the realities of a plague or it's consequences. SPOILER ALERT! The opening scene of Rick shooting a zombie'd little girl sets the tone - this isn't gonna be a pleasant trip but it's all the much better for that attitude. It gives you people that are real and handling the chaos in varied ways and when the rug is pulled out from the viewer with unexpected deaths, you feel it rather than uttering the "I knew they'd die" kind of dialogue. You want these people to survive through the attacks from outside and inside their ranks - even the more dislikable ones (small mindedness, racism, abusive partners still exist even if normal society doesn't!).
With a second season already grrenlit, the way forward can only be upward for one of the best drama's to grace the small screen since "BSG" bowed out. Due to air soon in this country, get on the wagon before it becomes a bandwagon and remember, the dead are walking.
UK release date: airs Fridays on FX channel