Growing out of a comedy skit inspired by My Fair Lady, co-writer/director Brett Kelly and co-writer Trevor Payer have crafted a delightfully inspired comedy-horror-musical called My Fair Zombie that stakes original ground in the increasingly crowded and derivative zombie film landscape. This is thanks in large part to the extremely clever and catchy songs by Stephen John Tippet and the excellent performances by Lawrence Evenchick as Henry Higgins and first-timer Sacha Gabriel as Eliza Dolittle. For those of you without a knowledge of musical theater, My Fair Lady is the tale of phonetics professor Henry Higgins, who wagers with Colonel Pickering that he can transform a Cockney flower-girl into a “proper” English-speaking lady — or pass her off as one anyway. Same thing here, except instead of a flower-girl, Eliza Dolittle is a zombie. Because, in this version of Edwardian England, zombies roam the streets with no rhyme or reason. And I’m cool with that. Sacha Gabriel is extremely impressive, especially for someone who hasn’t acted before (although she is in the Canadian band My Tiny Circus along with Tippet so she’s not new to performing). Her comedy timing is nearly perfect and even buried under zombie make-up, dead-eye contact lenses, and limited to grunts and growls (and the occasional “brains!”) for the first half of the film, she’s remarkably expressive. It’s difficult to keep your eyes off of her. Evenchick is absolutely perfect as Henry Higgins, and when teamed up with Barry Caiger as Colonel Pickering the two provide a steady stream of dry humor that serves as a very effective contrast to the splatterstick elements. I’ll be quite honest in saying that I really wasn’t expecting this to be any good. It’s a clever idea, but I never would have believed that it could sustain an entire film. Well, I was pleasantly surprised from the moment the opening musical number began. And not in an ironic so-bad-it’s-funny way. I don’t do ironic when it comes to low-budget films. The filmmakers for these sorts of works have to bust their asses dealing with scheduling problems, sometimes less-than-adequate actors, shortcuts with effects and sets, and any number of hurdles that make just the completion of a film a success in itself, regardless of whether or not everything comes together in the end. Thanks to an extensive pre-production period, an Indiegogo campaign that didn’t meet its goal but raised a healthy chunk of it, excellent casting, and lots of experience behind the camera, My Fair Zombie is a film that wasn’t just lucky to cross the finish line; it sprints home well ahead of the pack. This was my first experience with a Brett Kelly film and I can say without hesitation that I’m interested in seeing more. Kelly is a Canadian filmmaker with over 15 features to his credit and that experience shows here. Whether it’s a happy accident or not, Kelly films My Fair Zombie in a very theatrical way, without a lot of playing around with the camera and it’s the perfect approach for this material. There were times when I was positive that this had originally been a stage production that he had adapted, but that’s not the case. With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if this material made its way to community theaters in more experimental markets. The DVD release of My Fair Zombie includes a commentary track by director Kelly, actor Lawrence Evenchick, and composer/sound designer/mixer Howard Sonnenburg, who provide a spirited dialogue with plenty of behind-the-scenes stories and tidbits of filmmaking tricks that make listening worthwhile. This isn’t your ordinary self-indulgent waste of time. If you’re a young filmmaker just getting started, pay attention and you might learn a thing or two. There’s also a behind-the-scenes photo slideshow that makes it look like this was a lot of fun to film, a blooper reel with more than a few good laughs, and excerpts of an interview with Evenchick and Caiger, who have just as much chemistry off-screen as they did as Higgins and Pickering. So I can say without a doubt, My Fair Zombie is worth your time and money. And I’m not the only one singing its praises. The film has already won “Best Comedy Feature” at the 2013 Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival and “Best Film” at the 2013 Montreal Horrorfest. My Fair Zombie will be released on DVD, Tuesday August 26, 2014. See larger image My Fair Zombie New From: $11.99 USD In Stock Advance Review: My Fair Zombie (2013)4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.