Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Starring Janette Armand, Doug Fahl, Cooper Hopkins, Russell Hodgkinson, Bill Johns
Directed by Kevin Hamedani
Zombie films are best used as social commentary. Usually the filmmakers give us a subtle riff on some social injustice while sending the human race into the zombie apocalypse. While Zombies of Mass Destruction does make a social commentary, it’s heavy-handed, preachy, and full of some of the worst stereotypes one can imagine. Which is not to say it’s all bad, but the audience doesn’t need to be repeatedly bashed in the head with the moral of the story.
First off, the story is about a wealthy businessman who returns to his home town to finally tell his mother that he’s gay. Across town, an Iranian-American tries to avoid ending up working in her father’s deli. The town just happens to be ultra-conservative with the guiding influence being the church and a corrupt mayor, and everyone in town seems to see foreigners as terrorists and gays as one step below pond-scum. Oh…And there are zombies.
The biggest gripe about ZMD is its treatment of everyone in the town. From the preacher who believes he can “cure” homosexuality through torture to the redneck who, even though he’s known his neighbor all his life, ties her up and tortures her because he thinks she’s an Iraqi (she’s not even descended from there, by the way) terrorist, the film seems to be a vehicle for pointing out how stupid anyone who is politically conservative or Christian can be. It’s not even a thinly veiled rant as the filmmakers pretty much throw it out in the open. They take the worst kinds of narrow-minded bigotry and amplify it until it becomes a walking caricature.
However, what it does right, it does very well. Throughout the movie, there are some seriously funny moments alongside some real groaning humor. Case in point, how many rhymes can one wanna-be musician come up with for his girlfriend’s name, “Frida,” is one of the more funny-in-an-awkward-way moments in the film, as well as his incessant pun-smything over her country of heritage.
Also, the zombies are very cool. Lots of blood, lots of gore, and frightening looking dead-folk are always a good thing to add to a zombie flick. Oh, and did I mention that some of the blood scenes are as funny as the Black Knight from Monty Python? Or even Emo Phillips in UHF?
In all, the movie is worth a look. If you can get past the constant preaching, there are some good moments, and it’s actually a lot of fun. It ranks somewhere between macaroni and nachos on the “Cheesy-Meter,” but then, some of my favorite movies do, too.
3 1/2 out of 5
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