A Little Bit Zombie

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Steve and Tina were all set to have their dream wedding, but when a mosquito bite begins slowly tuning Steve into a zombie, Tina, along with Steve’s best friend Craig and sister Sarah, must figure out a way to get him the brains he needs before zombie hunter Max permanently ends his existence.

I never quite understood the fascination with giant weddings, not when honeymoons exist. I don’t quite understand the fascination with weddings period, so my opinion probably carries about as much weight in this subject as Ebenezer Scrooge’s pre-ghost thoughts on Christmas, but spending thousands of dollars on a service any courthouse provides for free just seems weird. I understand wanting to share an important event with friends and family, I have the same feeling every Halloween, but when you could put all that money into a fun getaway that celebrates your new union instead of spending it all just to watch your respective families argue over who’s the better family, the choice seems easy. Maybe my experience with weddings aren’t representative of the whole, but it seems like whether or not you have an expensive gala featuring hundreds of guests or a small affair with just your closest friends and family, it all turns out the same. Either you’re going to have a good time with the saying of the vows or you’re going to have to separate you relatives while keeping eye on Uncle Joe’s slow crawl over to the open bar because I just assume everyone has a drunk Uncle Joe at this point. That’s why I prefer undead weddings, the bride and groom grunt a few social acknowledgements, someone gets eaten, and a good time is had by all. Though Tina and Steve might never get a chance to do either.

Zombie hunter Max and his much more intelligent assistant Penelope have tracked a zombie outbreak to a ruined carnival in the middle of the woods. They’re successful in ending the threat, but while they were busy slaughtering an undead horde, a lone mosquito decided it was lunch time. After feeding on a zombie and becoming the world’s first zombified mosquito, the annoying little insect flew away towards a cabin that is about to be occupied by four people planning a wedding. Steve and Tina are soon to be married, and in an attempt to bridge the gap between Tina and Steve’s sister Sarah, the bride to be made Sarah the Matron of Honor and invited her and her husband Craig, who also happens to be Steve’s best friend, to the cabin for a last minute get-together before the ceremony. Unfortunately, at the same time the four arrive, our mosquito friend from earlier finally makes his way to the cabin as well where it puts up one hell of a fight against Steve, biting the man several times before finally succumbing to multiple swats. The next day the ill feeling man notices two things, one, he can’t seem to stomach most foods anymore, and two, he’s got a particular hunger for brains. It quickly becomes apparent that Steve is now a zombie, but one that still possesses all his normal human faculties, and though this leaves his three loved ones with a host of conflicting emotions, they decide to help him out however they can, not yet realizing how far they may be forced to go. Even worse than Steve’s new appetites, Max and Penelope are hot on the trail of the mosquito that got away, and Max is the type to shoot first and ask questions later.

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{Nothing ruins the joy of putting together hundreds of little candy bags for wedding guests like zombies, though to be fair, I thought putting together the candy bags was enough to kill any sense of joy}

If there’s one thing that can get on my nerves in a zombie film, it’s characters taking far longer than they logically should to come to the conclusion that they now exist in a world where zombies are a very real threat. I can understand a sane human being not instantly believing they’re under attack from the living dead, but if you’ve just watched a bunch of people who have no right to still be alive eating a guy, belief is no longer an issue. Still, there are films where people will deny what’s right in front of them up to the moment they’re being eaten. This is thankfully something that isn’t a problem for A Little Bit Zombie. Steve’s friends don’t immediately decide he’s become a zombie, and they make every attempt to find another reason for his behavior, but when faced with the undeniable fact that Steve is the newest member of the living dead, they accept it. It’s a good thing too because a good chunk of A Little Bit Zombie’s humor, of which there is plenty, is the group trying to cope with their new situation on the verge of Tina and Steve’s wedding. Tina is a fairly neurotic individual, and the wedding takes precedence over everything. She will do whatever it takes to make it work, and despite her husband being a zombie, all she can think about is the perfect life she’s always dreamed of, to the point of possibly being psychotic, and her goals soon become the goals of Sarah and Craig. While Tina is willing to go to going to any extreme, the other two still living members of the group are extremely unsure of what to do, and their journey towards full acceptance is as humorous as it is fun to watch. They start off horrified, but after a few unfortunate circumstances that seem to continuously get worse, they are able to shrug off even the most horrifying of actions. There’s a bit where they have to decide on how best to get Steve a human brain to eat, and the way they go about preparing could be mistaken for a group of people planning out Thanksgiving dinner. They create a presentation for the best ways to bite through a human skull and calmly discuss luring men to the cabin so they can serve as Steve’s dinner, all in manner reminiscent of so many family get-togethers. There’s even a certain joviality about them as they talk about murdering a man and feeding him to Steve, the most horrendous of actions having become completely normal behavior in a rather short amount of time.

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{It might get a little weird}

It’s a little off putting at first, the nonchalant way our four protagonists adjust to their new lives, but after a while, you begin to very much enjoy their perspective. It almost makes one feel like they’ve gone through the same journey as Tina, Sarah, and Craig. This is a major part of A Little Bit Zombie’s comedic enjoyment, but it’s by no means the only humor in the film. There isn’t actually much in A Little Bit Zombie that isn’t humorous, from the great banter between characters to the troubles the group keeps running into, it’s all very funny, and what’s great is that none of the humor came across as silly or dumb, it all worked perfectly. There’s even a lot of hidden humor peppered throughout the film, some of which didn’t become apparent to me until a second viewing. I’ll give one as an example so you know what I’m talking about, but I’ll leave the rest for you to find. While trying to hunt down the brains Steve needs, the group go to a local butcher with a fishing bait vending machine, which I didn’t even know were a thing, stenciled with the words “Master’s Live Bait.” Guess which parts are highlighted. As much as I enjoyed the nonstop humor, there’s something that I think is going to turn a few people off, the fact that A Little Bit Zombie is more a comedy film than a horror flick. It’s got elements of horror to be sure, but it’s also got a lot of other sub-genre elements as well, a romantic comedy (Romcom), a zombie comedy (Zombedy), and a buddy comedy (Budcom?), and you’ll notice all of those have comedy in their descriptive title. I didn’t mind it at all, in fact I think this might be one of the better comedic zombie movies out there, but I know there are people for whom that just isn’t their thing.

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{I think her face mirrors the face of the people who just found out how comedic this film is}

With the film’s success resting on how well the comedy works, it’s a good thing they not only found such a talented cast of actors, but a cast that had great chemistry. Each character had a very specific trait they brought to the film, zombie hunter Max is constantly antagonistic, Tina is extremely neurotic, Steve thinks niceties are required in any situation, Sarah spends most of her time being angry (and has some of the most imaginative, to put it nicely, dialogue in the film), and Craig is a smartass. Each actor embodies their particular trait, taking them about as far as they could go. Though each actor did a fantastic job, two in particular stood out, Kristopher Turner as Steve and Stephen McHattie as Max. Turner did an excellent job combining the traits of a flesh starved zombie and a fifties sitcom dad, managing to hold onto his innocent, naïve nature while drooling, quite literally at times, over the prospect of human brains. His mannerisms and facial expressions are perfect for a more articulated zombie, and had Billy Connolly not already stolen my heart as Fido, Turner might have been my favorite individual zombie. McHattie generally manages to create enjoyable characters in whatever he’s in, his role sometimes being the only saving grace in more than a few films, and he’s in fine form as the quite possibly insane zombie hunter Max. His unbalanced performance added another layer of fun to the film and gave a counter balance to Turner’s more relaxed performance.

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{Max and Penelope discussing their favorite subject}

A Little Bit Zombie was a very different kind of zombie film, but one I’d highly recommend for the zombie fan looking for some good humor. The only complaint that I have was that the ending seemed somewhat abrupt, but this interesting take on being a zombie was still very much worth a watch, even worth a repeat viewing.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Casey Walker (Prank Patrol, The Adrenaline Project)

Starring: Kristopher Turner (Instant Star, Without a Paddle: Nature’s Calling), Crystal Lowe (Signed Sealed Delivered, Final Destination 3), Shawn Roberts (Diary of the Dead, Resident Evil Series), Kristen Hager (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, Being Human), Stephen McHattie (Wolves, Pontypool), and Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary, Signed Sealed Delivered)

Written By: Trevor Martin (Patch Town) and Christopher Bond (Patch Town)

Released By: Cave Painting Pictures and Phase 4 Films

Release Year: 2012

Release Type: Limited Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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