The Horror Zine Review
We Are What We Eat
A Film by Sam Toller
Director: Sam Toller
We Are What We Eat
A Film by Sam Toller
Review by Jeani Rector
The Horror Zine does not normally review shorts, but when I found out that writer and director Sam Toller is only 16 years old (15 when he shot the film), I was intrigued. I wanted to see this film titled We Are What We Eat.
Now that I’ve seen it, I can say that I like the film. I really do. And I am not the only one who feels that way. We Are What We Eat is the “Official Selection” of the NFFTY 2012 (National Film Festival for Talented Youth), and also the “Official Selection” of the Zombie Voodoo Festival 2012.
Running at only ten minutes, We Are What We Eat packs a lot into that short timeframe. The idea for the movie came when Toller saw a group of his classmates shambling to school in the morning like zombies, and wondered what would happen if they were real zombies. What follows is a clever and well-done adaptation of that idea.
The film opens with pretty Nicole (played by Lucy Joyce) running down the hallway at school because she is late for class. When she reaches the classroom, the older and very stern teacher (played by Chris Bearne) admonishes her for being tardy but lets her slide.
Right afterwards, nerdy-looking student Karl (played by Zak Ozturk) is also tardy, and even though his excuse is that he is not feeling well, the teacher does not let him slide. Instead, Karl is told he must stay after class.
Which foils the plan he and Nicole had made to walk home from school together. So she walks alone, through the woods.
During her journey through the forest, she sees Karl’s backpack on the ground. Did he not have to stay late in school after all? She calls his name, but doesn’t see him lying in wait.
The next scene shows Nicole at home, nursing a nasty cut on her leg. That cut is not explained. Did Karl do it to her? Or did she fall and do it to herself?
But the next day at school is when We Are What We Eat really gets fun. A hoard of zombies invades the school. I am impressed at the makeup and Toller gets it right. All of the zombies are very good actors despite having non-speaking parts; they are effectively shambling and none of them are cheesy. They work together in tandem, as a unit, and are compellingly creepy. Bravo!
A nice touch is when the zombies fall upon the stern teacher. I think it is every student’s fantasy for their intensely disliked teacher to be eaten alive by zombies. Pulling the intestines out adds a pleasant amount of gruesomeness.
We Are What We Eat has the feel of George Romero’s earliest films. True to zombie tradition, Toller’s zombies are the bodies of dead people given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less. They are there simply to eat.
Sam Toller, Stuart Dye, and Carlos Badosa worked together on this movie for direction, filming, and sound. They are a very competent team and with Darien Davis, produced a neat little zombie film that hints at the respected professionals I believe they will all become, and probably very soon.
About the Filmmaker
Sam Toller is a 16-year-old filmmaker living in North London, who is passionate about writing, acting and directing. In 2011, at the age of 15, he wrote and directed his debut short film, entitled We Are What We Eat, about a teenage girl’s descent into becoming one of the un-dead. He is looking forward to seeing how people respond to WAWWE, which is being distributed and has already been accepted into the National Film Festival for Talented Youth. Between post production and distribution, Sam has been doing a lot of music video work for aspiring rapper and close friend J# Major.
Sam knows that he is young, naive and has a lot to learn, but he tries to make the most of every opportunity in the hope that he can consistently develop as both a director and a person. Unfortunately, this keen attitude is one his downfalls; due to school exams and a part in an upcoming play at the Edinburgh festival, he will not be following his debut within the next six months. The ideas are always bubbling away however, and it shouldn’t be too long before he starts work on his next film!
About the Reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, Story Mania, All Destiny, and many others. Her historical novel A Medieval Tale of Plague is released by The Horror Zine Books.