“Where zombie? Ah, there zombie.”
Life is good for office worker Aziz (Yahya Gaier), as he’s finally scored a date with the girl of his dreams, his coworker Tess (Nadia Poeschmann). Then, life gets not as good when Aziz is laid off and then arrested after a fight at a pool party. While Aziz spends the night in a police lockup, a comet passes over the Earth, turning everyone topside into…zombies! With the city overrun, Aziz faces a choice—either head toward the army’s safe zone or venture in the other direction, deeper into zombie-infested territory, to rescue Tess.
Might as well admit it—Kill Zombie is so similar to Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead that we can practically call it a remake. It’s worth noting that in the wake of Shaun we’ve had a ton of zombie comedies that played around with the many tropes of the genre. Along comes 2012’s Kill Zombie at the tail end of that wave, and it feels more familiar than it does fresh or edgy. When the characters hide out in a pawn shop, the audience knows they’ll eventually use all the junk in there as zombie weapons, and that’s exactly what happens. Kill Zombie meets audience expectations, but has no interest in trying to exceed them.
This whole movie worships at the altar of Edgar Wright. The friendship between Aziz and his pal Mo (Mimoun Ouled Radi) follows the same beats as Shaun and Ed. Various characters Aziz meets along the way get flashy, comic book-style intros, and one action scene is played out like a video game, and these scenes evoke Wright’s work on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The quick cuts, stylized action, and guy-next-door humor that we enjoy from Wright’s films are imitated in this one.
The meta layers of zombie comedies have now become so deep that the characters in Kill Zombie aren’t afraid of the dead, but instead they’re actually delighted to find themselves in the zombie apocalypse, because that means they get to be badass zombie fighters. The zombies in this movie aren’t scary, oppressive monsters. They’re objects of wish-fulfillment, existing just so the characters can live the zombie-killing fantasy.
Actor Yahya Gaier is plenty likable as Aziz, and Sergio Hasselbank and Uriah Arnhem get some amusing gags as other characters along for the ride. The real find among the cast, though, is Gigi Ravelli as the feisty lady cop who takes charge during the crisis. Ravelli has that genuine “movie star” quality, and it’d be great to see her in more movies.
Despite the death-riddled subject matter, this is a bright, colorful film, and the colors really pop on Blu-ray in a clean and clear 1.85:1/1080p HD transfer. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, in Dutch with optional English subtitles, is appropriately loud and booming. The trailer is all we get for extras.
Kill Zombie isn’t a disaster. It’s well made and has some decent laughs. Unfortunately, it also retreads what other filmmakers have done. Here’s hoping co-directors Martijn Smits and Erwin Van Den Eshof can develop a style and voice of their own in the future.