March 17, 2020

AMERICAN ZOMBIELAND: No Relation to You-Know-What
Starring Dave Mussen, Johnny Dowers, Brave Matthews, Samantha Walker, Sondra Currie, Kristen Renton, Benjamin Chamberlain. Directed by George Bennet. (88 min)

Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat😾

Once upon a time, zombie movies grew so prolific that the poor ghouls simply weren’t scary anymore (even showing up on the Disney Channel). It was just a matter of time before the genre turned on itself, playing everything for laughs, a trend arguably kick-started by Shaun of the Dead.

The pendulum has since swung the other way. Zom-coms are now a dime a dozen, most loaded with smug self-awareness and cartoon splatstick. More often than not, zombies aren’t funny anymore, either.

The conspicuously-titled American Zombieland doesn’t buck the downward trend, which is a shame because its basic concept is actually pretty decent: During an outbreak in Texas, a down-on-his-luck horror hack, Sam, takes advantage of the situation by gathering his friends to direct a film using real zombies. That premise has the makings of a clever spin on the whole genre, even if it was taken relatively seriously.

Sam enjoys his collection of Dear John letters.
But aside from a few satiric jabs at news media, a disturbingly-creative animated sequence and an all-too-brief moment when Sam’s ambition takes a dangerous turn into obsession, American Zombieland eschews brains for a non-stop parade of screaming characters, fat jokes, bodily functions, drugs, boobs, beer and, of course, buckets of blood. Much of the humor is intentionally tasteless, which would be fine if it was actually funny. Even the revealed cause of the zombie outbreak is painfully stupid.

Considering the obvious low budget, the film is fairly well put together and some of the make-up effects are decent. But American Zombieland ultimately fails as both horror and comedy, adding nothing new to an already-tired subgenre. There are plenty of better zom-coms more worth your time.


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