Of course there have been notable successes (From Dusk Till Dawn) as well as some unsung victories (Dead Birds) but they are few and far between. Michael Du-Shane's feature debut, Bullets For The Dead, a western/ comedy/ zombie escapade comes out as one of the winners.
The plot is simple: Bounty hunter James Dalton (Christopher Sommers) snags notorious bank robber Annie Blake (Vanessa Moltzen) and her gang during a heist and en route to collecting his coin the rag-tag group must fend off a zombie apocalypse. That's about it.
The plot's simplicity just makes way for zombie-carnage and jokes. There is, after all, nothing wrong with an oft-told story so long as it's told well. Du-Shane knows this and is wise enough to be playing BFTD with his tongue firmly in his cheek. This isn't a revisionist western, nor is it a heavy meditation on frontier life. This is a film where Cowboys kill fucking zombies in massive numbers and everybody is as cool as ice.
It's not always a success, mind you, but it hits a bullseye more often than it misses; its budget's limitations sometimes gets the better of it (a lot of the costumes are remarkably well pressed and crisp and the production design sometimes looks like it was bought yesterday), some of the supporting characters are merely cannon-fodder and once or twice a two-shot is held a little too long, but when BFTD works it works very well indeed.
A solid script and nifty characterisations make up for many deficiencies and his knack for visual comedy lands as many jokes as the words in his script do. It's also nice to see a low-budget effort that gives its leads some time to emote. All too often films of this ilk lack a confidence in still moments but Du-Shane slows everything down on a number of occasions to simply sit with his characters which gives us a chance to care, and it's refreshing.
Du-Shane is one to watch. Let's see what he does next time with a bigger budget.