When a group of indie filmmakers set out to construct a "gimmick" flick, they should remember to not let the gimmick overwhelm the whole thing. (Lots of "found footage" horror films suffer from this problem: all set-up and no follow-through.) The low-budget British horror/comedy called Stalled, fortunately, strikes an amiable balance between not only horror and comedy, but also between simple-minded novelty and a legitimate "movie" movie.
Stalled, the latest genre combo from the British goofballs who made Freak Out back in 2004, is not a found footage presentation, but it does have a simple, amusing hook: the entire flick (it's a zombie movie) takes place inside of a bathroom. Indeed, most of the movie stays inside one specific bathroom stall. (Hence the title.) This sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch at best -- or perhaps a decent short film -- but to its credit, Stalled somehow manages to stretch its simple gimmick into an amiable and generally energetic 80-minute feature.
Most of the fun found in Stalled lies in you, the viewer, figuring out how writer/lead actor Dan Palmer and director Christian James are going to keep their premise appealing. All you have to know is that a janitor is trapped in a women's bathroom stall while a zombie infestation breaks out -- plus there's a mysterious girl trapped in there with him, which at least gives the janitor someone to chat with. Stalled is little more than a few clever set pieces strung together with string, wire, and Palmer's likable performance -- but at its best moments Stalled also works as a deceptively clever little splatter farce.
Most assuredly more of a goofy comedy than a light horror movie, Stalled is evidence of some British indie filmmakers who specialize in comedy, but plainly love their horror films. Stalled is not likely to be a breakthrough success like Shaun of the Dead (not even close, really), but if you're a fan of the jocular, silly, and appealing style of British horror/comedy filmmaking, Stalled should keep you suitably amused.