Set in the early noughties, Dying To Win follows JJ, a quick-witted young guy who lives with his nan in a dilapidated seaside town. He relieves the tedium of his existence by gambling at the casino on the pier - this is the story of a trip to the pier unlike any other. At the casino JJ meets a security guard with a truncheon and scarred features. Other casino goers are huddled over their machines. JJ plays his money then prepares to leave when a hand slams on his shoulder. He turns to find his fellow gamers are all zombies. He runs to the exit which is locked, and the security guard is gone. A zombie chase on the pier ensues in which JJ realises these zombies can cough up money to gamble endlessly which entrances and horrifies him. Just as JJ seems cornered by zombies, the security guard rescues him with her truncheon and leads him to the end of the pier where she gives him an ultimatum: “stay and let the zombies make you like them, or jump off the pier and never gamble again. Caveat, I was once a zombie, and it sucks...” Which will JJ choose?
“Those who make [idols] will be like them, and so will all who trust in them” - Psalm 135:15-18. This film is about the choice of what to worship: God vs idols. I use the zombie comedy genre to demonstrate how addiction and worshipping idols makes us less than human and more like the thing we worship. Using the likeness of Queen Elizabeth on British coins, I represent how an idol can be made by human hands and have a mouth, but not speak; eyes, but not see; ears, but not hear, nor have breath in their mouth (v15-17). People who worship it become like it: cold, hard and dead. The zombie-like casino dwellers in this film are not gory, blood lusting zombies. Instead, they are shells of human beings whose senses have been leached from them as they have forfeited their humanity and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like human beings (Romans 1:23). By coughing up money, the zombies are trapped in a vicious yet seductive cycle of never ending money and gambling. Zombies and idols want to make others become like them - zombies beget zombies as idols beget idols.