Blockbuster video games featuring zombies are not that hard to come by, but that’s just because people love zombies. As a society, we’ve been obsessed with the undead ever since George A. Romero reanimated the zombie myth (creating the modern one in the process) with his seminal Night Of The Living Dead—giving (re)birth to a cultural icon that rivals anything living. And now there’s a new zombie game to add to the swelling ranks called Dead Island from Polish company Techland.
It’s about a family who go on holiday and get attacked by undead, flesh-hungry monsters. But what makes it so intriguing is the trailer, which has just been released. It features a gruesome account of a young girl getting bitten by, and then turning into, a feral zombie while her parents hack off limbs from the attacking hordes. Two arcs of the same narrative are told simultaneously in flashback and reverse, the video beginning with the young girl lying motionless on the ground, her chin blood-soaked, dead eyes staring out blankly before she defenestrates backwards in slow-mo. What with the emotional music and the sheer horror of watching a young girl being chased down by zombies, it makes for a powerful and affecting piece of footage.
Kids getting bitten and turned into the flesh-hungry undead is nothing new. In Zach Synder’s remake of Dawn Of The Dead, the female protagonist is attacked by a neighborhood-kid-turned-zombie who takes a chunk out of her husband before rampaging after her—but this is not the couple’s daughter. Of course, the loss of loved ones is a theme often explored not just in zombie movies, but in the horror genre in general, usually within the context of a film, comic, or TV show like The Walking Dead—which in its emotional intelligence seems to be the inspiration behind this trailer—not as a narrative for a video game commercial. But in the end, they’re all money making pieces of entertainment. It’s just interesting to see a different approach to your bog standard trailer and it’s certainly done its job in promoting the game.