The tongue is firmly in cheek and the gore piled tremendously high in this mega meta New Zealand zom-com. “Not another one!” I hear you cry. In fact, that’s a line quoted directly from I Survived A Zombie Holocaust, but this flick smartly determines those shortcomings early on, then attacks them with knowing glee.
Wesley Pennington (Harley Neville) is a geeky, accident-prone young runner (and budding scribe fresh out of film school) on a low budget zombie production – entitled ‘Tonight They Come’ – who subsequently stumbles on a very real small-town epidemic, which slowly turns the production team decidedly flesh-hungry and appropriately brain-dead.
On the zombie-film-within-this-zombie-film production there’s your typical bitchy, minimally talented but gorgeous bombshell actress; your ego-inflated sculpted chauvinistic alpha male action hero; the bright, practical and feisty yet creatively disenfranchised and hard-to-get female lead love interest, and of course, the uptight and obnoxious movie director.
The fun is cranked up a level when the ‘real’ zombies interact and merge with the ‘acting zombies’ and the film descends into a whole new level of enjoyably surreal depravity. You find out the dire consequences down below when you embark in zombie intercourse and a cooking-the-bloody-stump sequence just screams with hilarity. While the antagonistic director finally gets the realism he craves (and deserves) in a shocking and somehow surprisingly touching climatic character moment.
At 104 minutes long, it could have done with a tighter running time, as the zombie shenanigans do begin to run a little tiresome, and we really have seen most of this many times before, but there are some welcomely inventive surprises in places.
Okay, so it’s not quite Housebound (nor, more relevantly, Shaun Of The Dead), but there are enough laughs to be had with the character pratfalls and amusing banter to entertain. Kudos must go to the real actors for that. It’s simply a zombiefest not to be taken too seriously.