Budget defying Films

The low budget movie Exhibit A proves you don’t need to splash Hollywood millions on the screen to create an effective and entertaining spectacle. This year has seen a number of great additions to this list, and we’ve listed the best of them here.

Exhibit A tells the timely story of a normal family disintegrating under financial pressure, eventually driven to the unimaginable. All is not as it seems as the King Family go about their day to day lives oblivious of the horror to come. Dad Andy (Bradley Cole) is nursing a secret that ultimately leads to terrible consequences for them all. We witness these chilling events unfold through daughter Judiths (Brittany Ashworth) video camera, which subsequently becomes Exhibit A. Exhibit A is inspired by the many men in real life who are known to their neighbors as devoted husbands and fathers, but for unknowable reasons suddenly decide to take drastic action to protect their loved ones.

True Horror is other people.

Released on http://www.exhibitathemovie.co.uk/

The film is a co-production between Bigger Pictures and Warp Films (Dead Mans Shoes, This is England), both Yorkshire based companies. It was shot in Leeds in the North of England and partly on the Suffolk Coast. It was produced with financial assistance from lottery investors Screen Yorkshire and Screen East and private equity. It was shot in 18 days with minimal crew and the actors doing all their own camera work.

Exhibit A (2009) official trailer from Richard Wood on Vimeo.

Exhibit A is sadly the last film that, stunt co-coordinator, Roy Alon worked on. Roy holds the world record for performing the most stunts in cinema history and his long career included many Bond films and the Indiana Jones Trilogy.

Writer & Director Dom Rotheroe (My Brother Tom – Film Four)
Producer Darren Bender (The Hamburg Cell – Channel 4)


From the start of this film you know that it is all going to rest on the two central performances of Chris and Shifty: and Mays and Ahmed do not disappoint. Mays you will probably recognise from Channel 4s recent sitcom Plus One where he showed his prowess at comedy, and here though he shows he is just as good at drama as he gives Chris the emotional depth needed to make him not only believable but likeable as well. Ahmed was seen as the boyfriend of Jamie Winstone in Charlie Brookers excellent Dead Set where, despite having a minor role, proved his worth. Here he provides Shifty with much humanity, a important factor given that its always difficult for an audience to identify with a drug dealer.




At the core of all of this action is Colin, whose character is built up through a series of strangely touching moments where he reacts to his zombification with confusion, or becomes attached to objects and signs from his past. As the story progresses his family finds him, and try to save him from his cannibalistic fate with some extreme psychology: not a bad plot point to awaken your emotional side after a fair while of mere zombie carnage!

Overall, this is a great concept which plays out remarkably well on such meagre funds. There are a lot of funny and touching moments…




One of the few films that we’ve seen on the big screen that warrants a second viewing. Moon is an intelligent and sophisticated exercise in sci-fi filmmaking which is brimming with ideas that are refreshingly presented. Director Duncan Jones sets up a great atmosphere and gives you a premise which becomes frighteningly realistic despite its distant setting.

The music and visuals are also amongst the best of the year, it’s no surprise that Moon is topping many polls… it’s in my top ten for sure.




Paranormal Activity

Its a fairy tale scenario: some anonymous guy or gal picks up a hand-held camera, makes a film on a shoestring budget and thereby obtains fame and fortune. On the very few occasions that this happens the level of excitement amongst audiences and the press tends to reach fever pitch.

Such was the case in 1999 with The Blair Witch Project; ten years later its happened again with Paranormal Activity. The word of mouth quick-fire has transformed Israeli director Oren Pelis $15,000 debut feature into the highest grossing independent film of all time.




District 9

After his stint as the director and creative brains behind Lord of The Rings, anything Peter Jackson does is going to be watched with interest. But it seems he also has a talent for spotting talent in others as in Neill Blomkamp hes discovered a director with a creative vision to rival his own. District 9 is a sci-fi masterpiece and a strong contender for the best film of the year.

Its storytelling is not the only place it shines; the action is also exhilarating and exciting with special effects that are utterly seamless.

What do you think?