Eight years ago I had an idea for a zombie film that was a little different from the usual apocalypse in that the focus was on a couple who were on holiday when the zombie apocalypse takes place. I was on holiday in France at the time, stopping in a Gite that was in the middle of nowhere. Looking outside all you could see were the stars in the sky, and that was it. The absolute darkness outside inspired me, making me wonder what it would be like if a couple were on holiday in a similar location, looking out into the darkness and seeing the undead shambling towards them. What would they do in that situation? Furthermore, my idea was to have neither of them speak French, another barrier towards getting home safely.
Then I found out that the basic outline of my idea was made into a film in 2012 by Dominic Brunt, better known as Paddy in Emmerdale.
Having now seen their film, it’s clear that the core idea is the same, but the execution and direction of their story is completely different from my own. In fact, the only thing that links the two is that there is a couple away on holiday looking at repairing their relationship. Without wanting to sound too egotistical, I think my original idea is better than the one portrayed in Before Dawn. For a start, my plan was to feature way more zombies, which is usually a good thing in any zombie feature if done well. I would also argue that my idea has a much more solid emotional centre to the plot – although as I have yet to release it out into the world it would be remiss if I were to give it all away here.
On the other hand, I know full well that if I were to try and make my idea film myself it would be possibly much worse than Before Dawn for reasons of budget and cast availability. There wouldn’t be the need for a huge budget – six speaking cast and a shedload of zombies, and some countryside to stand in for France if shooting there isn’t an option. I just know that, at this current time, putting together a schedule for such a project would be entirely beyond my capabilities due to my various commitments. Hence, I’ll probably look at selling it on and have someone else make it.
Thankfully, Before Dawn hasn’t made me consider dropping my script, or even making any changes to it at this stage. There’s this ongoing thing in cinema where you can have two very similar ideas (Antz and A Bug’s Life, Armageddon and Deep Impact, etc) and still go off in completely opposite directions. I admit that my plans have barely escaped the design stage at this point whilst Before Dawn has been written, produced and released into the wild, but I will still press on with writing it and then see what can be done with it. You never know, I might get a Hollywood-sized offer for it. But then, it’s also just as likely that the zombie apocalypse will actually take place before then. We shall see.