Director’s Cut: One Zombie Movie, Hold The Zombies


Dead Weight” is a horror-drama film released in 2012, shot on location in Wisconsin. It’s about a young couple, separated by hundreds of miles, who rendezvous in Wausau to escape a zombie apocalypse.

“Director’s Cut” guest host Doug Gordon asked the makers of “Dead Weight”, Adam Bartlett and John Pata, how they decided to make a zombie movie in which you hardly ever see the zombies.

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John Pata: When we started writing, we thought of it more of a straight-up horror movie. We were going to have a little bit more gore and a little bit more violence. But in the writing process, we slowly started to chip that away, and wanted really just to focus on the characters. And we thought it would be interesting to [make] a zombie-type movie where you don’t see the zombies.

Adam Barlett: And it wasn’t that we really kind of forced it. It was a very organic process. Through editing the script and fleshing out these characters, we realized that the characters were moving to the forefront as being much more important than a lot of the horror elements that were laying the foundation.

Doug Gordon: Correct me if I’m wrong, but the word “zombie” is never uttered once in the film. So, are these zombies, or are they not? Or does it really matter?

JP: We like to think of them a little differently. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. Because that’s really the backdrop for the film. While it takes place in this setting, we don’t focus on the outbreak or the infected by any means. It’s all about the characters.

DG: I kind of think at this point in our history, we’re at a moment I like to call “peak zombie”, kind of like “peak oil”, in the fact that we’ve been so inundated in popular culture with the undead, that people are kind of tired of it. What do you think?

AB: Even though it may be becoming oversaturated, or reaching this peak popularity point, I think that kind of open the path for young people who are getting interested in storytelling.

DG: Throughout “Dead Weight,” it’s really the humans that are the monsters, aren’t they?

JP: Absolutely. We always viewed this story as [being about] the horrors of humanity. Again, it’s in this zombie-type setting, but that’s not the focus. It’s all about people, and what happens when you take away our rules and our regulations that keep us, for the most part, well-behaved.

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