The one thing I want out of a good zombie movie is one that is more character driven than zombie driven. Meaning, I'd much rather have interesting human characters be the main focus of the film than the actual zombies they are trying to avoid or kill. I've said that numerous times, in many zombie movie reviews before this one. But for the first time ever I'd say I wish it were the other way around with writer/director Steven Rumbelow's Autumn. Autumn is very character driven, so much that the movie is almost halfway over before a flesh eating zombie finally makes an appearance.
Autumn, like so many other zombie films, takes place right as civilization comes crashing down. A mysterious virus spreads, killing billions of people around the world in a matter of minutes. The movie focuses on one small group of survivors who try to make sense of the events that lead them to this point, as well as trying to live in a world without order. I wouldn't have minded this, since I prefer humans over zombies in a zombie flick. But Rumbelow's screenplay is as dead as the countless rotting corpses littering the streets in the film.
There is absolutely no character development throughout the film. Eventually this band of survivors splits off into separate groups, and we follow three survivors who take refuge in a countryside house. From there it's a lot of scenes of them eating food, watching television, fetching supplies and other menial tasks. Even when the dead bodies come back to life things don't get very interesting. For the first half of their reanimation the zombies just stumble about. And it's a long while before any of them start to eat human flesh. But even at that point they aren't much of a threat, since it is extremely easy to get away from them.
About the only thing I liked about the zombies was the make-up done on them. Where there was very little attention spent on plot and substance to the film, a great deal of attention was spent on creating some great looking zombies. There are various levels of decay that the zombies have, and my personal favorite were the extremely dark, almost burned looking ones. I just wish the film found more useful things for the zombies to do.
Autumn felt like a weird combination of films and stories like The Stand, The Happening and even I Am Legend. I'm sure that the film had high aspirations, but it failed to succeed at any of them. I'll give it some credit for having some awesome make-up effects. But this one is far too character driven, and the characters are of the dullest I've seen in any zombie film, making Autumn a difficult experience to get through.