Jesus H. Zombie (2007)
Starring Dah-uh Morrow, Wendy Schweitzer, Manda McKay, Ted Parker
Directed by Daniel Heisel
Note to all filmmakers out there: If a character in your movie is supposed to be Jesus Christ, then the actor playing the role should actually look like Jesus Christ. A guy whose only resemblance to Jesus is that he has long hair and a full beard does not a Messiah make. The Jesus of Jesus H. Zombie looks more like the metal head lovechild of Jack Black and Stuttering John, and yet, everyone in the movie takes one look at him and calls him "Jesus". Every single time someone would say something along the lines of "Is that Jesus?" I'd want to yell back at the screen, "No! It isn't!" If this guy is what passes for a dead ringer for our lord and savior, then I guess every third guy you slammed into in a mosh pit back in 1994 was also the lamb of God.
But the fact that the guy playing Jesus doesn't look anything like Jesus is the least of Jesus H. Zombie's troubles. Given a movie premise about Jesus Christ returning as a Romero-esque zombie, I went into Jesus H. Zombie expecting something either rife with social commentary or just a whole lot of blasphemous, politically incorrect humor; instead I get neither. It's just a no budget zombie comedy that falls into the category of being the sort of film one makes and then shows off to his friends, but as something designed for commercial release, I'm sorry to say it just doesn't have much of anything to offer. It takes too long to get going, and then once it does, it doesn't seem to be getting anywhere, and once it finally gets somewhere, it wraps up in a quick, unsatisfactory manner. Heck, even with a scant running time of only 47 minutes, it still felt long.
You've got a young man named Alex who accidentally hits a guy he insists looks like Jesus with his car. Continuing to call the man Jesus, he takes him to a friend who diagnoses the mute vagrant as having no heartbeat despite still being up and shuffling. Alex doesn't want to get in trouble with the law, so he takes Jesus home with him to clean him up. The zombie Jesus begins behaving more like the freshly thawed out Encino Man than an actual zombie; that is until a pair of door-to-door evangelists show up and suddenly Jesus goes all Dawn of the Dead on them. The plot then becomes a series of uneventful, unfunny vignettes of zombie Jesus in a Jimmy Buffet t-shirt wreaking as much havoc as the tiny budget allows, while Alex gets a phone call from a malevolent mystery man telling him to deliver Jesus to a specific location in x-amount of time or his friend Sam, whom the mystery man has taken hostage, gets it. So Alex and Jamie go driving around looking for the guy they call Jesus who still looks more like a transient headbanger in order to subdue him, take him to a secluded church, and save their friend from the fiend on the phone.
Given the lack of budget, I'll give the film its due and say it looks quite professional, the gore FX are decent, and the acting is passable. But even if the lead had been a dead ringer for Jesus, it still wouldn't change the fact that the movie has a concept but doesn't have any ideas. There was a scene early on where Jesus turned a glass of water into blood. For that one brief moment I got the sense of the sort of things that could have been done with the concept - none of which occur.
I wish writer-director Daniel Heisel the best of luck in future endeavors, but Jesus H. Zombie, I'm sorry to say, just doesn't cut it.
1 out of 5
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