Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Zombie Diaries

(2006) ***1/2

Johnny Sweatpants reviewed this a couple of years ago, and it took me about 20 minutes in to realize, I'd seen it two years ago, too! In reading his review before sitting down to watch it, I was prepared to concede that I, too, had wasted 80 minutes of my time.

Concede I will not!

There are a couple of elements that are severely overlooked in many a zombie movie for time purposes and to maintain an obligatory "gore quota" expected of zombie movies. The first is restoring the human population through mandatory breeding -- I'm not even gonna go there. The second is a focus on the specific change of nature of human relationships. How will we communicate when flesh eating ghouls start walking the earth? Will we still argue about dinner? Are we going to debate about whose turn it is to take out the trash, or help the dog throw up the trash it ate while we were quibbling?
"I can see why she insisted on the casserole."

Zombie Diaries holds a lens to such a topic; indeed, there are few creatures, the effects are extremely minimal, and there is no such character that looks like the dude on the cover. Do we need a singular hero when every single person needs to fight for his or her survival? Is that a rhetorical question or what?
Brits with guns.

Anyway, Diaries is filled with jolly Englishmen who first dismiss the widespread infection as a hoax: "Gov'ment do wut gov'ment do, don't vey?" then later declare, when surrounded by zombies in a field, "We're just gonna 'afta go fru 'em!" The movie only started to become uncomfortable for me towards the end when you can see that not all monsters are the undead.

Overall I appreciated the low-budgetedness because it allows one to see the human relationships that succeed -- or fail -- in a time of collapse. One character mentions he was writing his dissertation when the outbreak occurred and laments, "Now I know how the families of 9/11 felt." It might seem like a poor comparison on the outside but it is the closest example the character could verbalize that you have no clue how to act or what to do when all seems to go to hell.


Octopunk said...

Man, I would so totally be that dissertation guy. I'd be moaning about whatever I'd been making out of Lego and inadvertently luring zombies to my group with a trail of Lego bricks spilling out of my backpack...

Cracking review, Crystal. I love your phonetic representations of the accents.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I was in the middle of a zombie bender when I watched The Zombie Diaries and I must admit I remember precious little about it. I just read my old review and it was cluttered with unspecific negativity (blind hate?) Your review makes me want to give it another chance.

50PageMcGee said...

i got a phone review of this from JSP before he wrote his review, so i knew he was gonna hate on it. now that i have two opinions to choose from, i'm inclined towards the one wearing glasses.

Catfreeek said...

I kinda liked it as well, nice review Crystal. Love your perspective.

JSP~ That's the trouble with diving head on into a theme. You get overloaded with that one kind of monster and after awhile they all seem the same.

DCD said...

Excellent review!
Your phonetic, "We're just gonna 'afta go fru 'em!" reminds me of an early episode of The Crocdile Hunter I saw with Octo when he was still living in NYC. (Mind you, this is well before "Crikey!" became a household word.) So crazy Steve Irwin is swimming around doing something when he comes across a giant swarm of jellyfish and says basically exactly what you quoted up there!
Octo and I thought that was pretty hilarious at the time.

Landshark said...

Yeah, I'd like CM to only review British movies, and always include bits of dialogue in her reviews.

I'm going to check this one out.

AC said...

kickass review! never concede!