2018: The Virus (2015 Film)
2018: The Virus (2015 Film)
2018: The Virus is a 2015 zero budget zombie film written and produced by Ashley J. Wilding and Matthew Campbell. The film was created using a then graphically enhanced Grand Theft Auto IV Universe. The film was Ashley's first attempt at producing a feature length film and it received an exclusive cinema release on October 12, 2015 at Cineworld Cinemas. 2018: The Virus premiered at the Cineworld Complex in Southwater, Telford Town Centre.
The film is set in a world which cannibalistic ghouls have overrun the land and the film takes place far enough into an apocalypse that society has crumbled and the human race is nearing extinction. The story revolves around a remaining fragment of the United States Army and a scientist 'Jade' who believe they are the last surviving humans on earth. With the horrors that now walk the face of the earth, the survivors seek refuge on the outskirts of New York City and isolate themselves in hopes of finding a cure or a way to manipulate the ghouls. Small hope for humanity is on their side when a small group of survivors consisting of a police officer and a civilian stumble across the safe zone and instruct them of a military extraction the following morning. As everybody buckles up for the night, mysterious circumstances arise putting everybody on high alert.
Somewhere in their dark and blood-soaked surroundings there is something watching them and is ready to strike at any moment. Something more nightmarish than the ghouls themselves. The group of survivors must fight through the final night against the terrors that stalk them and escape to safety - giving humanity a fighting chance to recover
On October 12, 2015 the film premiered on the big screen with over 120 people attending the event. Despite the problems the film faced due to the now-eliminated hardware and software limitations, it received plenty of positive reviews and feedback. The film's success made its way into the local newspaper and I was asked to appear on BBC Radio Shropshire for three interviews.
Ashley said the movie was produced shortly after graduating from Technology College in June 2014 and during a time when finances were unstable. Ashley had no supporters or followers. He said the film was captured using an outdated Windows PC to record and was later edited using a basic laptop. It was captured in 720p HD on the Windows Computer and was later edited using limited free-to-download editing software such as Windows Movie Maker 6.0 in the same resolution. Promotional materials such as posters and ticket designs were produced using the now obsolete Adobe Photoshop CS2. Due to these limitations, WMM 6.0 offered only two timelines (one for Video and Music/Audio). Ashley was unable to add more than one effect at a time on-top of each over. The project had to be published as a full video every time a new effect, sound effect, musical piece or piece of dialogue was added. The movie was published at a minimal of 300 times which not only consumed huge amounts of time but due to underpowered specifications, the programs would often experience crashes, lagging, hanging and freezing. Another issue that plagued Ashley during the development of the film was that he was unable to get experienced voice actors and used an alternative method. Ashley said "I know local people who have always wanted to act so I gave these people an opportunity to star in a movie and see where things go". Since the recording sessions, these people have taken up acting and are looking to return for the next production as a minor role - leaving major roles to the professional actors.
Despite the problems that plagued the production, the film Ashley envisioned was completed and shown for the first time up on the big screen. With the support and recognition that followed his success; Ashley was able to invest in professional hardware, advanced film editing software and as of January 4th 2020 he is producing his next cinematic piece "Incognito".