Autumn is Coming
Main Cast: Dexter Fletcher, Dickon Tolson
Director: Steven Rumbelow
One day, in a place that may be the US, may be the UK, but was filmed in Canada, 99% of the world’s population drops dead, suddenly, and bloodily. A dozen or so survivors gather at a local rec center and try to plan their next move when, just as suddenly as they went down, the dead rise again.
They’re no threat to the living, though. They seem blind and deaf, and just amble around aimlessly. A handful of the survivors decide to try to find a house to live in, someplace remote and secure. Two of them bail out halfway there, insisting the world is their oyster, while the other three, our heroes, Michael (Dexter Fletcher, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), Carl (Dickon Tolson, “The Bill”), and Emma (Lana Kamenov), continue on in search of a farmhouse.
They find one with a generator and take up residence. Some time later, the dead meandering across the land, they realize that the walkers are no longer mindless and now are on the attack.
Autumn is a typical zombie movie that, for me, offered little I hadn’t seen elsewhere, with the possible exception of the mass death around the world. Well, what we assume is around the world, since we never see anything else outside of this small community. The story was adapted from the novel by David Moody by Moody and director Steven Rumbelow (“Beyond”). It was shot on a very small budget, but was obviously big enough to snag David Carradine for a cameo near the end. Naturally, Carradine was the best thing in the movie. That wasn’t difficult to do, though. Not that everyone else was terrible, there just wasn’t a lot on offer here.
Dexter Fletcher’s Michael was the main character, and he carried the film pretty well. Fletcher’s a good actor, and held his own amongst Statham and Flemyng in Lock, Stock…, so he’s obviously going to outshine any budget and story limitations this movie offered.
Dickon Tolson as Carl was a good match. He brought a natural feel to the character, and also appeared in the film’s single moment that offered any chills at all, when Carl decides to return to town for more people and to see his family. He finds them, dead in their bed, having not returned with the rest, and then makes his way back through the house, entirely by candlelight. It was a tense scene that another director may have chosen was the perfect moment for a jump scare, but just the journey of Carl through the dark house in the middle of the night with only a small candle to light his way, knowing his family lay dead upstairs, that was tense enough and anything else would have ruined the effect.
My biggest problem with Autumn wasn’t in the story or the cast, but in the finished product. Someone, the director or editor, thought it would be a great idea to pepper the movie with “arty” flashes of psychedelica in black and white. Also the few split screen shots weren’t interesting and did nothing to help the story.
The run-time also isn’t helping this movie any. At 110 minutes, that’s easily 20 minutes longer than any zombie movie has any right to be, the result here being a lot of silence and even more non-action. It’s definitely not an action-fest, that’s for sure.
At most, I’d say Autumn is a 3-star movie in a 5-star world. I’ve seen MUCH worse, but when all’s said and done this is just a cheaply-made zombie movie and it isn’t trying to be much else, unfortunately. I’m not sorry I sat through it, but my office is still a mess and I’m still pretty tired from work last night, so there were definitely more constructive ways I could have spent that time.
–C. Dennis Moore
C. Dennis Moore is the author of over 60 published short stories and novellas in the speculative fiction genre. Most recent appearances were in the Dark Highlands 2, What Fears Become, Dead Bait 3 and Dark Highways anthologies. His novels are Revelations, and the Angel Hill stories, The Man in the Window, The Third Floor, The Ghosts of Mertland and The Flip. He is writing another Angel Hill novel called Return to Angel Hill with co-author David Bain.