Moreover, debuting director Sebastian Hoffmans approach is almost the exact opposite of a zombie or horror film. His is all show, methodical camerawork rather than in your face gore and shock set-pieces. The focus is clinical closeups of Albert Trujillos decaying flesh, or long shots of him hunched over staggering through the streets. Indeed, rather than any genre-identifying zombie film, the nearest you could compare Halley to might be something like The Machinist (2004). Trujillo gives a performance that is about as physically withdrawn and closed off as it is possible for a human being to get.
Unfortunately, such a slow and uneventful approach makes for a dull film. It is a zombie film where almost nothing happens. Case in point of how uneventful it gets is the scene where Albert Trujillos boss Luly Trueba invites him to her apartment after a night out drinking. You get the impression that she is coming onto him and sit expecting something terrible to finally happen him to abruptly devour her, maybe some freaky zombie sex scenes, or even just her to react in horror at what he looks like after taking his clothes off. Instead ... nothing happens, he just quietly announces he should go home and does just that.
Not to say that Halley is uninteresting. It sits for most of its running time on the verge of turning into something else. Alas, it never does and peters out to an ending where Albert Trujillo is seen copying the climax of Frankenstein (1816) and heading into the Arctic. The most amusing scene the best in the whole film is where Trujillo goes home from Luly Truebas place and starts jerking off, only for his dick to come off in his hand. It is a scene that is all implied although we do see a shot of the gaping hole where his penis is supposed to be later on. This is something that the film needed more of. Indeed, what it gives us is something that would have made a great short film with a darkly funny punchline that instead been over-extruded to make for a dull feature.
(Screening at the Vancouver International Film Festival)