Let’s deconstruct the title first. Who wouldn’t want to see Zombies of Mass Destruction? Though, the movie came out in 2009, so the whole “…of Mass Destruction” joke is about 6 years too late. It’s the “Got Milk?” of the 2000. In the film’s defense, it’s set in 2003 and is a satire of sorts. The cheesy title (although IMBD says another Zombies of Mass Destruction is coming out in 2011 and unrelated to this one) made me want to see it, not see it, than see it again. With low-budget horror, the title is 90 percent of the marketing.
Late at night, I often want to zone out to a zombie movie. Netflix streaming has a ton of them, all with a decent poster and no budget. I’ll start watching and usually give up after 15 minutes. Here’s why: the lighting sucks, the audio’s all badly looped and the actor’s are obviously just the director’s friends. And everyone plays a stupid redneck. Look, I’m not looking for Avatar and except new film maker mistakes like poor editing and some sloppy story-telling. But, it should have a tiny bit of technical competence.
So, image my surprise, ZoMD is fairly competently made. It’s a small budget flick, but it’s all on the screen. The acting’s okay. And it’s a satire. That’s why we make zombie movies—gore, humans screwing up, and satire.
The movie’s sort of a red state/blue state thing, firmly siding on the liberal side. Our heros are an Iranian girl and a gay couple. Besides the tiny sub-genre of gay horror, never are the heros gay and never, never Iranian-Americans. I like that. These are the side kicks who are killed off early in other movies.
Yes, the caricatures all a bit broad, but not offensive. There’s the Republican, preacher, flaky liberal teacher, love struck teen, stoner, conservative Iranian dad, and true-blue American torturer dad and a fox-like news network. Their conflicts are played out, broadly, because some think the zombies are caused by terrorists and others see it as God’s Armageddon. There’s even a political debate during a zombie attack with one side turning into a zombie.
The story takes place on a small Washington island over, as in most zombie flicks, the course of a night. The first third of the film, the zombie’s are lurking singularly in the back ground. No one notices them. That’s funny. It isn’t until night there’s enough of them to cause trouble.
The gay couple is returning to the closeted one’s home to tell his mom he’s gay. The good side, if you’re mom turns into a zombie at dinner, she doesn’t care if your gay. Fighting zombies can strengthen any relationship. (Also, if I were gay, I’d totally be the kind to get an ‘I’m with him’ T-Shirt like the closeted one’s partner.)
Everyone thinks the Iranian girl is Iraqi and a terrorist, of course, she’s all-American, but her hard-working dad is a more conservative Muslim. She spends the evening trying to convince people she’s not a terrorist.
And fighting zombies. After all, isn’t a zombie movie all about the zombie fighting. After a slow start, there’s plenty of fun zombie killing. The effects are pretty decent and don’t fall into the zombie beginners effect of just doing the same effect over and over. There’s some unique kills, but nothing super elaborate or a set-piece. You can tell everyone involved at least worked on other projects beside this one.
Oh, the movie did have one plot that almost always like a horror movie. A cute young kid is introduced as someone the hero has to protect. Usually, the kid is okay at the end of the movie. However, if a movie kills the moppet, it’s an automatic thumbs up from me. Yea, it’s stupid. In ZoMD, they introduce a little girl and she dies 30 seconds later, horribly. But later she gets to be a zombie, carrying her own arm. Awesome.
Is ZoMD a great zombie movie? No. Is it good? Not particularly. But if you like zombie movies or broad satire, ZoMD is certainly worth seeing. It’s well-executed and has a decent script. Better than most.
Hey, they’re making a sequel. Can’t be all bad.
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