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The cure is worse than the disease. An earnest young doctor working on a cure for AIDS unwittingly invents an aggressive new bacteria that deteriorates the body and induces a thirst for blood. Now he must stop the infection before it turns him and everyone he loves into the walking dead.
As the film opens we see a little boy playing around on a beach and when he gets too close to a jellyfish it stinks him, the problem is it has a rare strand and the boy becomes deathly sick. The boy soon after that shows up at a local hospital and passes out on the floor. It's that event that will play a major part in where "Ashes" ends up a bit later in the film. The story centers around Andrew, an obsessive doctor who is working on a Aids vaccine that just might win him the Nobel Peace Prize if it proves successful. The drug is so far untested on humans but it is showing progress in lab tests. Andrew also is a family man with a wife and a daughter at home but he is so obsessed with his work he rarely ever makes it home before his wife and child are in bed and when he is home all he can think about is the hospital, so much that he can't even sleep at night. Now back to the boy, when he enters the hospital Andrew happens to be on duty and he is the one that picks the boy up off the floor. After running a few tests they find out the boy's immune system is very low but without the boy's parents around there isn't a lot they can do for him. When the boy wakes up Andrew finds out his name is Jesus, with his hands tied Andrew decides to secretly use his untested Aids drug to booster the boys immune system but right after giving the shot the boy goes into shock and lashes out and bites Andrew in the arm. It doesn't take long for Andrew to start feeling the effects and getting sick, dealing with his new sickness, marriage life that is strained from his over-working and pressure from the higher ups to get his vaccine done Andrew begins to lose control. Soon after others begin getting sick and Andrew must race against time to come up with a cure before a pandemic breaks out.
I have said enough about the film itself so I will stop there so not to ruin the story for those wanting to see the film. "Ashes" starts off as a drama, it takes it's time setting up both the story and the characters giving us just the right amount of background to move forward with. You can call the film slow if you wish but believe me when I say it is deliberate and even at it's slow pace the film is never boring and always interesting. As the story moves along the suspense slowly sneaks up on you and before you know it the film turns into a zombie-like horror flick which by that time you have reached the edge of your seat.
I would hate to think the film's slow pace early on would cause people to lose interest but I suppose some will get bored by it before the exciting parts kick in but that would be a shame because the story and the way it is told is what makes "Ashes" stand out from other similar films like it. A well-crafted, cleverly-written, thought-provoking and frightening horror film that is original and refreshing. The cast is another reason the film works so well, Brian Krause is fantastic as the obsessed yet charismatic doctor and Kadeem Hardison has never been better as the lab tech. The rest of the supporting cast all do a terrific job as well including Richard and Barbara Nedeljakova.
This is Elias Matar's first time directing a feature film and I have to say he has a great eye not only for horror but for dramatic story-telling as well. I really look forward to seeing more from this talented man soon. The film is still in negotiations for distribution but it is doing the Festival run now and has already won several awards including BEST SCREENPLAY at the INTERNATIONAL HORROR & SCI-FI Film Festival. After I seen the trailer and noticed the film was gaining a good buzz about it I was looking forward to what looked like a good horror flick but what I got was so much more. Intelligent horror doesn't come around often so I was more than pleasantly surprised and by the time the credits began to roll I was left with a feeling of satisfaction I haven't felt in a long time when watching a horror flick. You can follow "Ashes" progress over at it's Facebook page HERE. If there are any screening of the film in your area I highly recommend going to see it, for once a horror film that doesn't insult your intelligence, hats off to everyone involved in making the film and I certainly look forward to seeing what they all have coming for us next.
coming soon from Osiris Entertainment
***** Out Of *****