Harold's Going Stiff (2013)
Harold's Going Stiff Videos
Harold's Going Stiff Photos
Watch it now
Critic Reviews for Harold's Going Stiff
There are enough interesting ideas, memorable lines and inventive choices to make this is a notable entry into the overstuffed DIY horror canon.
Brilliantly funny with endearingly natural performances, which perfectly deliver the film's comic and deadpan dialogue.
Audience Reviews for Harold's Going Stiff
Harold's Going Stiff (Keith Wright, 2011) The surprising winner of the five films I watched this work-from-home Tuesday: Harold's Going Stiff, which I expected to be another brainless zombedy (not that there's anything wrong with that), but ended up being a touching mockumentary combined with a savage satire of Britain's healthcare system. Don't get me wrong, there are funny bits, especially revolving around the characters who, had Wright had the budget for A-list actors, would have been Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, but there's a lot more under the hood here. Plot: there's a new disease going round that turns people into zombies. Not that anyone in Health Services is going to use the word "zombie". But pensioner Harold Gimble (Stan Rowe in his first feature appearance) has it, and he's starting to suffer the consequences (the early stages of the disease seem quite a bit like dementia-this may be a comedy, but it's an uncomfortable one indeed). Harold goes through a slew of nurse before being assigned Penny Rudge (Sarah Spencer in her first, but hopefully not her last, screen appearance), a lonely nurse who has the patience and humanity to put up with Harold's social awkwardness and forgetfulness. Eventually, the two of them become friends of a sort, and Penny starts helping Harold navigate through the seemingly endless maze of the health care system. Meanwhile, a couple of overzealous zombie hunters also get some screen time, being interviewed about the changing face of British culture, and if it's predictable that these two storylines are going to come crashing together eventually, well, so what? This is a wonderful little movie-I gave it three and a half stars but gave it a miss on the Thousand-Best list back when I was doing that month's revisions; time and distance have made me revisit the idea that it belongs with the three-and-a-half star movies that qualify, and it may show up there in the near future. Both Rowe and Spencer are perfect for their parts, and certainly deserve more exposure than they've gotten so far, while Wright (Take Me to Your Leader), who also wrote, has a fine eye for satire and a willingness to play things for laughs that most other directors would not-but balances that with as much heart as necessary to make this a movie that will stay with you far more for its empathy than its comedy long after you've finished watching it. There are a few minor places it could have used a bit more polish (e.g., the final sentence in the last paragraph above), but all of them are, ultimately, minor niggles in a movie that deserves far more recognition than it has received. *** 1/2
This is a pretty good movie all things considered. And by that, I mean its rather minuscule budget, which is really noticeable during the last climactic "fight" between Harold and No. 7, or Randy the Ram as I nicknamed him, where the fight just looks absolutely awful and poorly shot. The film definitely has some very dark humor but, at its core, it's actually got a very sweet story of the relationship between Harold and Penny, which was actually a legitimately sweet and touching. Both are completely removed from "society". Harold's is self-imposed, as the first sufferer of Onset Rigors Disease, or ORD, which causes a stiffness in the limbs and it causes those who are affected to act like zombies. Harold, who's the only known person to not suffer the full effects of the disease, removes himself from society so as to not make himself a target to vigilantes, who want to hunt him down and kill him in order to "protect" the community. And Penny's is also self-imposed as, in her own view, her weight has been an issue for her finding someone to settle down with. The film sees them come together and bring out the best in each other and, again, their relationship with each other is genuinely sweet and it helps that the leads have great chemistry with each other. Sarah Spencer is actually really good, and I'm quite surprised I haven't seen more of her because she's very talented. Stan Rowe isn't as good as Sarah, but he's still quite good as Harold. The film also focuses on the societal effect of those who're suffering with ORD, only older men are affected, and how the vigilantes sort of view those with ORD with contempt and hatred. These people aren't, technically, zombies as they are still alive. These are people with a disease, a disease that needs to be studied to find out if there is a cure. These vigilantes don't realize that, they're looking at this disease in a complete black and white way, rather than as something that's a very complex issue. In reality, the film is also very much about the inhumanity of these vigilantes and not those with the disease itself. The film is very smart, though because of its budgetary limitations they can only focus on a smaller town rather than the effects of it instead of the effects of it on a countrywide basis. But I can't complain really, that's just a problem with the funding the film received and not with anything inside the actual film itself. But I quite liked this movie. It's got a good story with some social commentary and a damn good cast.
Blackly funny and surprisingly touching, this zombie mock-doc is far more inventive than it has any right to be.
Discuss Harold's Going Stiff on our Movie forum!