It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born. For the curious, here are links to 2008, 2009 (a bad year), 2010, 2011, 2012 (when we left the blog behind), 2013, 2014, and 2015. After the pain of last night, we decided to go with zombie comedies tonight and despite some misgivings and questionable reviews, both entries were pretty enjoyable. First up we have a zombedy straight out of Amsterdam: Kill Zombie! (or Zombibi, as it was originally titled). Kill Zombie! is directed by Dutch filmmakers Martijn Smits and Erwin van den Eshof, who have directed a ton of stuff that you’ve never seen. The screenplay is by Tijs van Marie, who has also written a ton of stuff you’ve never seen. Made for 500,000 euros (the equivalent of about $560K American), Kill Zombie! is an amazing example of money put to good use. Not that this is a film that’s going to make a lot of Top Tens, but it’s a great example of coming up with a solid screenplay that has a beginning, middle, and end, and then executing that vision with precision. There’s a lot of CG gore which allows for larger crowds of zombies and the lighter tone allows some leeway in what the audience is willing to accept as schlocky gore. In fact, in some quarters, this film is considered pretty violent and gory. I am not familiar with those quarters, but it’s good fun nonetheless. The story is pretty basic. A Russian satellite falls to earth, crashing into Amsterdam-West, and with it comes some sort of space fungus that liquefies in our atmosphere and turns people into flesh-eating zombies. A lot of the blood and gore is done in green, which may be an allowance for censors (à la Evil Dead 2), so it doesn’t seem as extreme as one might think on first glance. In the chaos, our heroes are a group of four guys who were locked up overnight for fighting, and the Hot Action Cop who survived along with them. Because she was super-hot, I guess. Our main character, Aziz (Yahya Gaier), gets a message from the girl he’s been crushing on, pleading for him to come rescue her from the zombies, and with that he’s away. Well, almost. First he has to convince his sleazy brother Mo (Mimoun Ouled Radi), cellmates Jeffrey (Sergio Hasselbaink) and Nolan (Uriah Arnhem) – who is great with bowling balls, by the way – and Hot Action Cop Kim (Gigi Ravelli) to help him, because, let’s be honest; he’s kind of hopeless. Smits and van den Eshof adopt a pretty frenetic filmmaking style, that owes a debt to Edgar Wright, to keep the film moving, and by the time the maybe-crazy Russian Zombie Expert parachutes in for the finale, we actually feel a connection with the characters and are invested in their survival. All in all, Kill Zombie! is a fun, if harmless and mostly forgettable, way to spend 90 minutes (if you don’t mind some occasionally very poorly translated subtitles). The second film in our humorous double-feature tonight was Burying the Ex, the latest film by Joe Dante! Dante hadn’t made a feature film since The Hole in 2009 (and it wasn’t all that), but he’s been working in television to make ends meet, apparently directing all ten episodes of Splatter in 2009 (I have no idea what that is, but Corey Feldman was involved), along with episodes of Witches of East End, Salem, Hawaii Five-O, and a recent episode of Legends of Tomorrow . Honestly, he hasn’t helmed something I’ve really paid attention to since 1998’s Small Soldiers – which everybody should see, because it is awesome – and his Masters of Horror episodes. But Joe Dante is a genius. An American treasure – and I don’t hand out that platitude lightly. Dante is responsible for some of most iconic horror of the 80s and he has been shunted to the side for over twenty five years as the industry has shifted away from the hand-crafted cinema that he was built for. Seriously, you kids reading this and hearing his name for the first time; he made Piranha, The Howling, the best segment in The Twilight Zone, Gremlins, Explorers, Innerspace, The ‘Burbs, and Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Every single film there was genius. And then the work dried up. I don’t know why. I don’t know anything about it. But I know Joe Dante helped shape my teen years and I miss him. Burying the Ex isn’t exactly a return to form, but goddamn is it a welcome return. According to Dante, Burying the Ex was filmed on the fly when financing fell through for another project. They were able to grab enough money for this and it was filmed in a mad dash over 20 days. That’s what a professional can do for you, son. The film stars Star Trek‘s Chekov, Anton Yelchin, along with Ashley Greene as his controlling girlfriend Evelyn, and Alexandra Daddario as the love of his life, Olivia. Essentially this film is all about appealing to the fantasies of male horror fans. Max (Yelchin) is in a relationship with Evelyn and is not happy about anything but the sex. She’s vegan, totally committed to social causes, and is as green as green can get. He’s a horror nerd who wants to open his own shop selling horror-related stuff. When he tries to break up with her, she ends up being hit by a bus and dies. Which allows him the opportunity to move on with super-cute horror-nerd Olivia. I mean, come one. She runs a horror-themed ice-cream parlor! Who could resist? I’m not joking there. If you’re cute and own a horror-themed ice-cream parlor, email me. Anyway, thanks to an errant wish on a Satan Genie Doll (just go with it), Evelyn is soon clawing her way out of her grave and craving ghoulish sex with Max. It’s creepy and disgusting and just barely hits the mark for the mood the film is trying to achieve. Overall, there’s a crassness to the film that seems to be an attempt to appeal to those “modern kids” and isn’t really necessary. A lot of the sex stuff could have been left out, not that there’s a lot included, other than some off-color jokes and a gross-out moment or two. The story is simple and direct and Dante fills it with his trademark classic horror references (there are horror films on background TVs all through the piece). The performances are honest and believable. Everyone involved nails their parts. It’s just not anything special overall; Which is disappointing. But as far as zombie comedies go, this is a good one. It’s not great, and no one is going to be clamoring for a remake or lining up for anniversary viewings, but it’s a solid film that features a lot of idiosyncratic Joe Dante moments, as well as an appearance by Dante regular, Dick Miller. And a Dick Miller appearance is always a good thing. EZMM 2016 Day 4: Kill Zombie! (2012) & Burying the Ex (2014)Kill Zombie!Burying the Ex2.8Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.