Zombie High (Blu-ray)

I hear Zombie High is playing Vampire Academy at homecoming this year.

Andrea (Virgina Madsen, Sideways) is one of the few girls attending a prestigious formerly all-male academy. She makes friends and develops some romantic interests, only something is wrong with her classmates. As more and more of them transform, Andrea investigates, only to discover a sinister secret at the heart of the school.

One thing you should know before diving into 1987’s Zombie High is that these zombies are mostly “mindless drone” zombies as opposed to the usual “flesh-eating reanimated corpses” zombies. That’s OK, though, because I’ve always maintained that zombies without metaphor are no kind of zombies at all. The metaphor in Zombie High is the sameness and apparent airheadedness of the rich preppie kids. It’s a metaphor that speaks to a lot of people’s teen experiences, and what helps set this movie apart from so many other zombie flicks.

Diehard horror fans might not like how much time the movie spends with the characters just hanging out. I for one liked all the “hangout” stuff, as it helped the characters feel like real people and their world felt more lived-in. It’s during these parts that we get to know Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks) as Andrea’s wacky roommate, and director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) acting on screen as the requisite nerd character. Everyone is really likable, so much so that if you removed the horror elements, the movie would still work as a teen comedy.

Centering the whole film is Virginia Madsen, doing the “Nancy Drew” thing with a ton of excellent youthful enthusiasm. She makes for a plucky girl hero that audiences will want to root for. Once the horror elements do make themselves known, we get plenty of chases and escapes, and even a little zombie gruesomeness for good measure. The movie is the whole deal—an ’80s horror movie that has a real story and real characterization to go along with its ’80s horror trappings.

Decent-to-good Blu-ray presentation, with a clean picture and sound. All we get for extras are a DVD copy and a short essay about the movie’s low-budget production.

Zombie High is a fun movie. Great for those seeking a more laid-back, low-key horror experience.

verdictNot zom-guilty.

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