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 20082009 (a bad year), 201020112012 (when we left the blog behind), 20132014201520162017201820192020, 2021 and 2022.

Here there be spoilers!

Well, that’s an oddity for the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon! Don’t Kill Me makes the SECOND movie based on a novel. This time it’s the first novel of an Italian trilogy by the late Chiara Palazzolo (1961-2012) Non Mi Uccidere. Palazzolo is best known in Italy for fantasy literature and based this trilogy on the work of Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg, who argued that “a group of 16th century peasants prosecuted for heresy were survivors of pre-Christian shamanistic cults at odds with the established church.”

In Non Mi Uccidere, the heretics became the undead – intelligent zombies who must eat flesh to keep from decomposing – and their hunters The Benandanti transition into an ancient group of zombie hunters. It’s called a “Gothic coming of age tale about a callow young woman in an indifferent and insipid contemporary world who must endure many trials to learn to think for herself.”

Unfortunately, none of the novels seem to have been translated into English, so that’s about all I can find out – although apparently in the novel, our young heroine has long conversations with the ghost of Ludwig Wittgenstein, which is intriguing.

The film adaptation, Don’t Kill Me, directed by Andrea De Sica and written by SEVEN screenwriters (!!!), takes a few notes from the Twilight Saga and focus quite a bit on the love story between our 19-year-old heroine, Mirta (Alice Pagani) and the mysterious drug addict with a secret, Robin (Rocco Fasano). The first thirty or so minutes of the film pay a lot of attention to establishing their relationship, until he finally convinces her to try a strange drug. Smash cut to a morgue, where they’re both dead.

Once Mirta wakes up in the family mausoleum, breaks out of her tomb, and realizes that Robin is not reawakened, we are walked through the discovery of her new state of being. She hoodies up and stumbles to a nightclub where she gets hit on by a sleazy 40-year-old who refuses to take no for an answer. Which means he ends up Mirta’s dinner. From here we are introduced to the centuries-long conflict between the Bernandanti and the Overdead, complete with mysterious secrets, sudden betrayals, a massive hallway fight, and hints of more movies to come.

Whether that happens or not, Don’t Kill Me is a pretty uneven attempt to graft a number of well-established vampire story tropes onto the zombie genre that kind of works enough to sustain some viewer interest. When it’s good it’s very good. The cinematography is beautiful and there are some very exciting action sequences scattered about. The love story hamstrings a lot of the development, feeling more like a blatant attempt to cash in on the Twilight fanbase desperate for a new fix.

If there’s a sequel, however, there are a number of exciting and interesting directions the story could go. We’ll just have to wait and see. I guess Don’t Kill Me is good enough.

That’s me shrugging.

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