Goal Of The Dead film review

Can French zombie comedy Goal Of The Dead kick life back into the sub-genre?

Why didn’t anyone think of this before? A movie that combines two of pop culture’s favourite things: football and zombies? It’s an obvious combo.

Goal Of The Dead starts as an enjoyable character comedy, as the Olympique de Paris football team heads to a match in the town of Caplongue. Their striker, Sam Dorit (Alban Lenoir), is a former Caplongue player, still hated by the townspeople after he deserted them for Paris, 17 years ago.

Moreover, he is yesterday’s man, now overshadowed by his obnoxious young teammate, rising star Idriss Diago (Ahmed Sylla).

This is intriguing enough – and funny enough – to make it almost disappointing when the zombies interrupt all the personal and sporting drama, leaving the obligatory trail of blood. But if not for zombies, we probably wouldn’t want to see it .

They arrive via Sam’s old friend and former teammate Jeannot (Sebastien Vandenberghe), who – unlike most of the town – is willing to forgive and forget. His father, the token mad doctor, is less accepting, injecting Jeannot with a serum that transforms him into a raging behemoth, more than capable of tearing Sam apart of the field.

Naturally, he begins by killing or zombifying numerous extras and expendable characters, spreading his malady is a suitably disgusting manner (it’s more Little Britain than Shaun Of The Dead). Happily, the humour is maintained well through the horror and gross-out scenes, reminding us (yet again) that zombies are easy pickings for comedy.

But this is more than just cheap laughs. Zombies are often used as an allegory, and when it comes to sports fans – rabidly patriotic towards their home side, viciously opposed to their rivals – this makes a fair point. When it degenerates into perhaps the worst football riot ever (not a spoiler, surely), it all makes perfect sense.