Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review: Zombies of Mass Destruction

Dir. Kevin Hamedani, 2009, Roadshow Entertainment

Life in the seaside community of Port Gamble reflects the ideals of small-town America; white picket fences, friendly neighbours, a more comfortable pace to life. Until, that is, a terrorist attack results in a zombie uprising. Then, an unlikely trio comprising an Iranian-American girl and a gay couple will have to battle not only the undead, but the simmering intolerance of their fellow survivors, in order to save their town and themselves...

Despite always trying to not judge a DVD by its cover, I should admit from the outset that my expectations of Zombies of Mass Destruction were significantly lowered by the label 'A Political Zomedy' gracing the cover of this release; generally, when producers of any political satire feel compelled to emphasise the fact that the movie is a political satire, this tends to indicate that the satire (and usually the movie in general) isn't up to much.

I bother to mention this only because I'm fairly certain that others may share my feelings on this. And it would be a pity if any of those folks were to avoid watching ZMD based upon that assumption, because ZMD is actually a pretty damn good film. The acting is excellent, the special effects and make-up convincing, and the script - which admittedly follows the standard zombie-uprising plot - is both entertaining and exciting.

Even better, the satirical content of this movie actually works. Much of the political commentary is admittedly pretty unsubtle stuff, with very obvious allusions made to dodgy post-9/11 politics, and the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, among other things. Yet beneath all this in-your-face stuff is another, more subtle (and disturbing) layer of socio-political satire examining the casual bigotry of Good People, the evils performed in the name of humanitarianism, and the truism that even the worst events will serve someone's political agenda, big or small, and it's when addressing such issues that both the script and acting really shine.

Zombies of Mass Destruction is a terrific little flick, and a definite 'must-see' for any fan of zombie cinema, particularly those who enjoy Romero-esque social commentary. The DVD release is now available in Australia through the usual retailers.

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