Joe Meredith is a DIY horror writer/director. He’s known in small circles of effects guys and artists like James Bell and Phil Stevens. With his new release, South Mill District, he hopefully has a shot at a new level of independent film popularity.
Although this was a short film, coming in just under thirty minutes, I was impressed by its efficiency. It used standard voice-over narration, walking the viewer through a world destroyed by death and decay. The film managed to build in aspects of the virus, alien, contamination and post-apocalyptic genres. Instead of building on cliches related to the genre, however, it focused on the character related challenges involving survival and the mystery behind the alien invasion.
I was a little surprised by my own growing intrigue as the film moved forward. It had cool gore effects that were completely handmade and effective. Like some of the effects work in the films of Yan Kaos and Dustin Mills, there is an artificial yet disturbing quality to them. As I watched the film, the effects in James Bell’s Nutsack came to mind. So of course I was not surprised when I saw his name in the closing credits. In fact, Meredith did the artwork for the cover of Bell’s film Lucifer’s Cosmonauts.
Aside from story and effects, the film also has a haunting little soundtrack. It truly adds ambiance to the film’s barren landscape. In the end, I’m pleasantly surprised to tell you that I highly recommend this film. It looks and sounds cool. It is also a high level example of micro budget film-making.
**Ten years have passed since the alien war, and now the line between human and alien is blurred. The film follows two vagrants who were once subjects of a dangerous experiment involving the assimilation of alien and human DNA. Their bodies were hollowed out by over-sized spiders, bio-engineered by EonCorp, a corporation with evil intentions. The spiders used their bodies as dwelling places until the assimilation process was complete, and their bodies regenerated. Now they wander around the South Mill District, waiting for the spider’s mutagenic virus to do what it was meant to do. Written by Joe Meredith**