This Live Action ‘Dead Island’ Backwards Trailer Is Impressive

Published 1 year ago by

A couple of years back, UK-based animation studio Axis Productions created a short promotional film for Techland’s survival horror video game, Dead Island, and caused a ruckus across the Internet.

The clip, edited in nonlinear style, carefully details a young girl’s transformation into a ravenous zombie after she fruitlessly tries to outrun a horde of ghouls; Axis aimed their work square at the audience’s emotional sweet spots, generating huge buzz and early interest in the game that translated into strong sales upon release.

Not too shabby for a three-and-a-half minute clip that wasn’t even made by Dead Island‘s developer, and which ultimately had nothing to do with its story or even its mechanics (a not-infrequent criticism made once the game became commercially available). Now, though, we’re getting the opportunity to revisit that tragic scene through a live action lens; the original trailer has been remade in the flesh, capturing the same moment in time shot for shot with real actors in physical environments.

This new piece comes courtesy of the folks at Machinima, and their efforts deserve recognition if not outright praise. Recreating something like that viral footage so impeccably as they do in the above teaser takes some serious dedication and care; as far as that endeavor goes, they nailed it, and in the process they made something that feels more harrowing and arguably boasts a better sense of craftsmanship. The zombies on display here are, frankly, pretty darn legit.

Dead Island Live Action Backwards Trailer This Live Action Dead Island Backwards Trailer Is Impressive

What drove this small-time production in the first place? Apparently nothing more than a serious case of “Hey, why not?” But that’s as good an excuse as any to expand on the trailer’s human element by turning the whole ordeal into a live action narrative. In a way, just making the decision to put this story into a live setting makes it hit harder, though nothing about it changes apart from medium and aesthetic, so if you didn’t like Axis’ version, Machinima’s probably won’t do it for you either.

The interesting thing here, of course, is that we’re getting a glimpse of what a Dead Island movie might actually look like, should Lionsgate ever get one off the ground. (It’s worth noting that we haven’t heard a peep about that project in a very long time.) While this probably won’t mean anything as far as a potential film is concerned, it’s nonetheless an impressive attempt at joining in on the current zombie craze brought on by the success of such fare as The Walking Dead, which is currently enjoying record ratings in its fourth season (and has already been renewed for season 5, with a spin-off series in the works to boot).

Maybe this little ditty will motivate Lionsgate to start cracking on a Dead Island feature; maybe nothing will come out of this at all. If not, at least we have this neat bit of mimicry to mull over, but it would be interesting to see this expanded into a full-blow film.

What do you think, Screen Ranters? Is this worth turning into a full-scale production, or would a Dead Island movie just not be worth it?


We’ll keep you updated on any Dead Island movie news as it becomes available. Watch the original “backwards” trailer below:

Follow Andy Crump on Twitter @agracru
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  1. Good stuff, the more zombie madness THE BETTER!!

  2. im get stupid emotional when i see and hear this…sounds like that Beyond the Pines music. Right? anyone?

  3. Still get feels from this.

  4. @evan do you mean Ninna Nanna – Per Adulteri? um sounds similar ish I guess? but not nearly as good in my opinion.

    Fan made trailer looks, well, fan made. Its not bad but I wouldn’t want to sit through more than 3 mins, even that was a struggle.

    • You’ve obviously been only watching you-tube stuff, but even a lot of that is pretty good.

      I’ve found that generally the two main things that separate a “fan trailer” from a industry trailer is the acting is sometimes questionable, and lighting (probably color correction) wasn’t a priority. That said, I’ve seen plenty of Hollywood trailers that look terrible.

      End result, depending on the genre (in which you’d expect to see at least one a-list actor in some genres) that only way you’d know some trailers are fan made is if someone told you.

      • “You’ve obviously been only watching you-tube stuff”

        Thanks for clearing up what I watch and how I perceive them. To clear things up, I don’t watch a lot fan trailers, far from it, I watched the video that was shown in this article. As I stated before this wasn’t bad but it in no way made me want to watch a full length film based on what I saw.

        To be absolutely clear I couldn’t care less about A list actors appearing in films, one of my all time favorite movies is Kill List, no A lister’s, no big budget but one hell of an emotional sh*t storm that left me reliving it for a long time.

        Don’t make assumptions of people on a preconceived impression that your mind embroiled.

        “Think, before you drink, before you drive me mad”

  5. Lionsgate should fast track this into a movie. Zombie movie sells. I mean just ask Brad Pitt and he’s crap movie World War Z (seriously, it was a dumb movie and they are planning a sequel argh!). Or better yet, ask the Resident Evil Crap Franchise Movie. Zombie in bikinis, Shutter Island style and it will work. They need to star a well known African-American Actor/Rap star to play the lead to make it sell more or change him to a Caucasian actor (I’m against it but HOLLYWOOD is a prick, they like Caucasian and American more) or make the football player more the main lead. They don’t really need to reconsider this though.

    • You must be fun to hang out with at parties..

      • He does have a point though.

  6. This was so painful to watch, but in a amazing, wonderful, excited way! I remember seeing the other version, the game trailer and was blown away. Wow, I would love to see a live action full movie by Lionsgate. Thank you Machina for just doing this, if only for the fans!

  7. I thought this was a very cool trailer. They did a great job. I pick at the very last frames, though. The end, where the Dad and daughter’s hands either meet or separate(depending on backwards or forwards)was the very important punctuation at the end of the sentence here. Humanity in one shot. To me it was the most powerful part. They sort of undervalue it in the live action version.
    Still, a very cool reimagining. I’m sharing it around.

    • Gotta agree with you here. Brilliant trailer re-creation, but they sadly missed that final poignant moment of the original. I wonder why. Everything else was so damned perfect.

  8. Cool recreation but honestly, I got bored of the zombie fad in 2006 and at this point, I’m just begging the world to drop it now. It’s been 9 years now, how long does a craze have to last before people realise it’s overplayed?

    • actually, it’s been 45 years. Just became a big mainstream thing after 28 Days Later.

      • I think Dawn of Dead might have something to say about that.

        • 28DL beat it by two years…and Snyder basically stole the running zombie from that movie. But you’re right, DoD certainly kept zombies in the public eye

          • Not the remake the original, it came out in 1978 that film made Zombie flicks mainstream.

            • Well, if you’re talking about that one, then I say it was 68 that started the ball rolling. But it was never a mainstream thing. There was never a major release zombie movie until 28 Days Later (Though I guess the NOTLD remake got a wider release)

              • I wasn’t just going for the oldest Zombie flick otherwise I would have mentioned White Zombie 1932. I was just stating the first Dawn was probably one of the most successful early Zombie films.

                • No. White Zombie has nothing to do with the modern zombie. Dawn of the Dead got made on the cult following of the first. Thus NOTLD is the father of the modern zombie film. It is considered this by most. Dawn of the Dead is a great movie(okay, a little dated, in a way that NOTLD is not)but it didn’t move zombie movie into any kind of mainstream acceptance. No way. It is one of the peaks of the genre, yes, but it didn’t make it so suddenly there were zombie movies in every movie house. Zombie movies remained in the margins(where it should have stayed, I think. The glut has sort of diluted the effect)until 2002.

                  • “White Zombie has nothing to do with the modern zombie”

                    That’s completely subjective, King of the Zombies, I Walked with a Zombie and The Plague of the Zombies all used formula’s seen in White Zombie. To say it has nothing to do with modern Zombies is just false.

                    NOTLD is the father of the modern Zombie film and I’m not disagreeing with you on that however it was an independent movie. Dawn of the Dead had studio backing, an advertising campaign and it was a success at the box office which to me would be the “definition” of mainstream.

    • keep the zombie train going I love anything zombie related

  9. Big Zombie fan. Not a fan of the running, exploding, spewing, or other modified zombie.

    I can take running zombies but that is about it.

    If they do go the movie route with Dead Island it would be nice if they stayed the ‘extra’ zombie types and use the storyline presented (watered down a little) and follow up with the ‘add on’ as a DI-2.

    Of course except for players of the game keep the correlation as hidden as possible.

    As for that trailer… gives me the shivers just watching as does the original. Great job.