Aaah! Zombies!! Netflix Streaming DVD
Directed by Matthew Kohnen
Starring Matthew Davis, Julianna Robinson, Michael Grant Terry, Betsy Beutler, Richard Riehle, Tracey Walter, Colby French
Level 33 Entertainment
Originally Released: October 16, 2007
With the recent memes following the “zombie attack” news report from Florida, I found myself in a bit of a zombie flick mood this week for the Netflix Review. I was discussing this with a good friend of mine after reading the “bite your face off” news, and he recommended Aaah! Zombies!! to me because the story is told from the perspective of the zombies themselves.
Fascinated by this hysterical premise, I decided to dive into it. And what an eccentric ride this movie is.
Branded as a horror comedy, Aaah! Zombies!! dispenses exactly what it proposes: a zombie flick from the perspective of the zombies. The movie, directed by Matthew Kohnen, plays up on the well-known and thoroughly grounded trends and stereotypes from zombie tradition.
Aaah! Zombies!!, originally released under the name of Wasting Away, follows the ordeals of four teens that becoming exposed to a toxic waste that turn them into zombies. Accompanied by a man who claims to be Black Ops, the group is immune to injuries and imperceptive of their bodily transformation. They think they are victims of a military experiment that have turned them into super soldiers.
The zombie perspective is provided to the audience in color – with them perceiving the uninfected living moving about at high speed (due to their slow zombie movements); while the human perspective is filmed in black and white. As the movie progresses, the direction embraces the elements of bad b-horror cheese of years gone by, complete with offbeat and goofy comedy scenes.
The performances in the movie, however, are by and large lackluster, with many of the comedic moments either poorly timed and/or poorly executed. There are some highly hysterical moments, and like many peculiar comedies, Aaah! Zombies!! does assemble ridiculousness upon ridiculousness as it heads to its conclusion – but the overall impact suffers from some of the comedy that falls flat.
Matthew Davis and Julianna Robinson together put in good efforts with their performance through the movie though, and both should have really been the two chief characters in the story. The two leads, Michael Grant Terry and Betsy Beutler, follow a path of tawdry teenagers falling in love; which doesn’t seem to work well in the film overall, and should have really been delegated to a subplot.
Richard Riehle is comical as the Colonel in the movie, successfully embodying the stereotypical military man poorly represented in b-grade horror flicks. His rendition of the character type had me recalling many moments from cheesy films from long ago. Tracey Walter, probably best known as Malak from Conan The Destroyer, makes a surprise cameo appearance, which was a delightful inclusion.
The scriptwriting of Aaah! Zombies!! is generally good, taking on a unique perspective of the typical zombie movie. The plot encompasses many of the stereotypical features of all the classic walking dead movies – though the center of the cause of the apocalypse is chemically based, rather than disease; which is most likely a nod of the head to The Return Of The Living Dead series. Monologues and dialogues are faithfully crafted to pay tribute to really badly made horror films that take themselves too seriously; an indication that the creation of this movie was anything but.
Additionally, the writing also embraces the phenomenon of "more than one ending", where the story seems to reach a natural conclusion, but the movie continues onwards anyway to give you another ending. And then another and another… it’s actually quite an amusing aspect that would ordinarily drive me crazy – but within the context of this being a spoof, it’s highly effective.
Horror fans however, may find themselves disheartened with the fright vs. gore factors of the movie. As far as scares are concerned, there are none to be had. The gore is almost unnoticeable, with the scenes of dismembered body parts appearing more slapstick than anything else – resembling the Black Knight scene from Monty Python more than it parodies horror. It may be amusing, but if anything, this aspect of the movie is perhaps the most disappointing – a film that is supposed to be parodying a much beloved sub-genre of horror, and yet, the blood and gore aspect is dealt with in a quirky Python routine.
Quite simply, Aaah! Zombies!! is a nice distraction and diversion away from the typical zombie flick. It’s quite a sign of the times really… zombie films were once either powerful social commentaries or cheesy b-grade gore flicks; and now it seems the subgenre has become saturated with releases that take on the topic in a highly serious manner with very little social commentary. Aaah! Zombies!! flips that on its head, and though it does not have any deep social commentary in and of itself, it serves to remind the audiences and the fans of past ventures.
While the comedy of the film is only of a run-of-the-mill standard, viewers will find the topsy-turvy nature of the movie to be highly amusing. The b-grade parody aspect of Aaah! Zombies!!, on the other hand, will be misperceived by many, and I believe that it may be bewildering on many viewers who are younger and who have only really been exposed to the newer series undead ventures.
Ultimately, Aaah! Zombies!! is really a film aimed directly at long time lovers of zombie movies, and the horror genre in general – particularly those who enjoy both the serious epic horror flicks, and the cheesy bad ones. It may not be for everyone, but for fans of the genre, Aaah! Zombies!! is definitely worth adding to your queue to check out at some stage.