A doctor, Bell, and an army man, Cain, are two of very few survivors in a world that's been taken over by an epidemic called "The Phage". The two men are on their way to return to their home base and they have a long way to go, and alot of zombies to avoid. Hope is slowly withering away as they come closer and closer to their destination.
"Biophage" is a black and white 16mm zombie flick that goes back to the early days of zombies. As far back as '68, to the days of "Night of the Living Dead". "Biophage" focus on the survivors and their psyche rather than gory deaths and the killing of zombies, and that's how this entire genre of brain eaters originally started. Many filmmakers would fail terribly attempting something like this, which is the reason why there are so many over-the-top gory and cheesy zombie films, but Mark A. Rapp has created what we have been missing for many, many years.
The film starts out with a dream (that involves boobies. Good way to start a film, Mr. Rapp!). It depicts Sgt. Cain (the army man of the two) fooling around with his lover, rolling around in grass, but the dream quickly turns to a nightmare when his lover bites his neck. This is where Cain wakes up. He wakes up to the real world, that might not seem too real to them anymore... No living person as far as eye can see... Zombies roam around and attack when they least expect it. Cain and Bell has to get back to their home base, which is the only place they know of that still has living people. On the way there, they meet an older man who's lost his family to this "Phage". After being invited in for a home-cooked dinner, they start to realize that this sweet man might be anything but sweet. Like I mentioned earlier, "Biophage", just like Romero's original "Dead" trilogy, especially "Night of the Living Dead", the film has alot to do with characters, actions, not going insane, staying alive and finding ways to do just that, and "Biophage" does just that. It's very rare to see this approach done well nowadays and I think that might be what surprised me the most about this film. The film still has zombies and some gore, but it's not what it focuses on, so it's only rare occasions where it takes up the films' screentime. I can't say if it's a good or bad thing, 'cause I'm still a fan of the living dead and love to see them tear people to shreds, and "Biophage" even had less of it than the original "Night.." had. Of course, this does not change the fact that I find "Biophage" to be a masterpiece of modern independent cinema.
The biggest flaws in this film is not the "lack of" zombies and gore, because we get enough to be pleased, but I think it's some of the acting, and the sound. The two main actors do a great job, there's no complaints there, but there are some smaller roles that aren't exactly played realisticly, but I appreciate their effort. And the sound I'm refering to is some of the dubbing, but also that we, the audience, sometimes only hear silence when something obviously is going on. It's just small things like if someone takes a deeper-than-usual breath before talking and we can't hear it. Nothing major that ruins the experience, but it's things that keep reminding us that we're watching a low budgeted film.
It's easy to ignore flaws when the rest of the film is done so perfect, with such care, and that might be why "Biophage" is, after just one viewing, one of my all time favorite zombie films. I don't know if I will say the same thing in 2, 5, 10 or 20 years, but I know that this was a zombie film experience I haven't been close to for a long time. To me, "Biophage" might just be closer to being the sequel to "Night of the Living Dead" than "Dawn of the Dead" ever was. And that's not just because it's black and white, but rather the overall feel and style of the film. I can't understand how this film, which was filmed in 2002, still haven't found distribution. Every fan of zombies should check this one out if they ever get the chance to, and damn you if you don't like it.