July 6, 2012

Filthy Review - Velvet Road

Velvet Road (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

Once again I delve into the oft overlooked world of the short movie, and once again I get my assed kicked with another high quality slice of entertainment. From the sunny climes of Florida, Velvet Road takes us on a journey to the Deep South in the 60’s, a Deep South that has borne witness to an outbreak of the undead.

In an eerie and incredibly well composed opening scene we see the interior of an abandoned house, a voice on the radio tells of a plague being spread by the “negroes” and a haunting score accompanies it.

The film itself follows a young man, along with his pregnant wife; the residents of the house from the opening scene, as they look for help. It is quite apparent that she has been infected and through jumps back and forth in time we learn of their fate. Along the way the young man, Billy, happens across a police car, the officer appears dead but there is a man handcuffed in the back seat. Will Billy be able to overcome the prejudices of the time? Does he believe what the voice on the radio has been feeding him?

When I was told about Velvet Road, it was described to me as The Walking Dead meets In the Heat of the Night and that would be a very fair description. I would also add in that the influence of Night of the Living Dead would be quite apparent. So many films featuring the undead take purely the flesh eating aspect of Romero’s classic, yet few look to incorporate the social issues that Romero brought to the fore.

Velvet Road manages to do this in, and do it very well, in just 12 minutes or so. With that being said you can quite easily watch Velvet Road as purely a short film featuring zombies, or you can look deeper into what is happening on screen and get a far more rewarding experience. It is quite apparent that a lot of time and thought has gone into the writing and production of this short, and writer/director L. Gustavo Cooper and delivered a powerful movie, without being heavy-handed about it.

On the production side of things, Velvet Road is a wonderfully accomplished movie. It’s shot on Red Digital, and looks absolutely gorgeous. The visuals are crisp and the slightly muted colors manage to give us the look and feel of the 60’s in turmoil, in this small corner of the States. Velvet Road is also accompanied by a terrific score, which is first introduced in the opening credits and stays with us through to the end credits, where This Little Light of Mine takes over. This really is a terrifically well-crafted short movie that is given further credit from great performances from the small cast.

Whilst there is some blood and ruined flesh on display here, the emphasis remains firmly on the story itself. The more violent scenes are either shot from a distance or off-camera, and in doing so only add more impact. You aren’t going to get scenes of zombies chowing down on hapless victims here, but in my eyes that is because it isn’t necessary to the storyline itself.

Velvet Road is a short movie that has plenty packed into its short running time, without the need to ever rush anything. It does get slightly more frantic towards the latter stages, but only because the story necessitates it.

Since watching Velvet Road I have learnt that there are plans to, hopefully, turn it into a feature length film. If the quality of this short is anything to go by, we could be in for a real treat if that happens. This is an excellent short movie and is one you should most definitely keep your eyes open for, as I think we will be hearing a lot more about not only the film, but L. Gustavo Cooper as well.

For more information on Velvet Road check out the Official Facebook Page.

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