I first heard about Sniper Corpse over a year ago when I did a quick write up on the film's trailer. I was immediately drawn in by the film's unique premise and splattery gore effects, and knew it was right up my alley in terms of what I usually look for in an entertaining indie horror flick. With the film now available on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD, writer/director/producer Keith Robinson was kind enough to send me a review copy.
In Sniper Corpse, unscrupulous politicians and mad genius of sorts, Dr. Craybrick (Tony Eccles), have secretly been resurrecting British soldiers killed in combat to use them for top secret missions. However, Diane Keely (Eleri Jones), the widow of one of the undead soldiers, is determined to uncover the truth behind the conspiracy. One of the resurrected soldiers offers to help her uncover the truth on the condition that he is given a proper burial, which has disastrous consequences for everyone involved…
Shot on a fairly miniscule production budget of roughly $38K, Sniper Corpse feels much bigger than its budget because Robinson and crew chose to keep things simple by focusing on a small, rather talented cast and atmospheric yet intimate settings. Not to mention, the film features an original and inventive concept that truly deserves to be expanded upon. Think RoboCop meets Day of the Dead with a hint of Dog Soldiers-esque British flair.
When it comes to the film's special effects, there are some instances of dodgy CGI, but they're few and far enough between that it doesn't really become too much of an issue. Other than that, the EFX crew keeps things practical and Sniper Corpse benefits greatly from this decision. Heads explode, limbs are blown off, bodies are riddled with bullets and the zombies themselves look pretty damn impressive! This is especially true of the main zed himself, the so-called "Dark Soldier".
In terms of acting, Sniper Corpse features strong performances from everyone involved. Eleri Jones is fantastic as the recently-widowed Diane, and she's certainly an actress to keep your eye on in the future. Kit Smith puts forth a great effort as Braddock, the commander in charge of the whole operation. And both Jordan Murphy and Howy Bratherton are spectacular as the body and voice of the "Dark Soldier", respectively. If I'm being totally honest, this is the first time since George A. Romero's Land of the Dead where I've actually cared about the wellbeing of a zombified character.
Continuing the trend of being well above standard for this sort of film fare, Sniper Corpse also boasts strong technical merits. The cinematography is impressive, the production design is clever and moody, aided by the nighttime setpieces, and Matt Chapman's catchy score brings an overall sense of eeriness to the whole ordeal.
On the negative side of things, the film attempts to bring a sense of military authenticity to the table, with several lines of dialogue being delivered using walkie talkies. In some scenes, this works in the film's favor, but there are times where dialogue is a bit too muffled, making it difficult to completely hear what the characters are saying. Also, for a film of this nature, there were one too many slow scenes, where there should've been action. This would've helped offset the dialogue-heavy moments and upped the film's entertainment value as a whole.
But as far as gripes go, that's about it for me, which is surprising when considering what could've been. Robinson made all the right decisions to avoid Sniper Corpse becoming just another ho-hum, low budget zombie flick.
All in all, Sniper Corpse exceeded all the expectations I had for the film. Even though I would've liked to have seen a bit more in terms of action, the film's delightfully cheesy, B-grade aesthetic more than makes up for it. I really hope that Sniper Corpse can go on to spawn several sequels, as the brilliant concept and potential is there, it just needs the support of you, the horror fans. I urge you to give Sniper Corpse the chance to impress you, just as I did. With a little more fine tuning and a bigger budget, I believe Keith Robinson has some serious franchise potential on his hands.
Sniper Corpse is now available fully uncut as a limited edition Blu-ray that comes signed by Robinson in a premium package that contains some lobby cards and a full-color booklet with cast and crew interviews. On disc special features include a behind-the-scenes documentary, a montage of exploding heads, footage from the film's World Premiere at Horror-On-Sea film festival and some trailers. It's also available on Amazon under the slightly altered title of Corpse Sniper.