Written by: Goon
Zombie films have been done to death. Almost every single type of zombie film has been done and I had seriously thought I had seen it all. That is until Fido came along. Yes Shaun of the Dead is a good zombie comedy and definitely moved the zombie into a new arena but Fido took that concept a step further transporting zombies back 50 years. Take the writings of Max Brooks novels like The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z and put them into the world of Leave it to Beaver and you have Fido. A hysterically witty look at domesticated zombies all through the eyes of little Timmy Robinson.
The film begins with an old school 50s black and white projection of the back story. Basically the Earth was engulfed by a radiation cloud that caused the recently deceased to be risen from the dead. This caused the on set of the Zombie War. Zomcon's top scientist discovered that destroying the brain would kill the zombies. This discovery helped the nations take the upper hand in the war but it wasn't until the same scientist created the domestication collar. This invention allowed the humans to domesticate the zombies and use them as everyday servants. But they had not completely gotten rid of all of the zombies. So they created little pockets of suburbia that is surrounded by an area called "The wild zone" where zombies roam free. The suburban cities are protected by large fences. As the projection ends we are brought into a school room where the film is being watched by Timmy Robinson and his classmates.
This is where we get a sense of who Timmy is as no one in the class seems to like Timmy very much. He just doesn't seem to get a long very well with the rest of the kids. Soon however everything changes when his mother surprises the family with their first zombie servant. The film brilliantly uses this to represent the whole social status that families felt during the 50s. Basically if the neighbors have one, we need one. Timmy finally has a friend that will protect him from the bullies and will help him cope with his distant father. Soon however Fido, Timmy's name for the new zombie, kills the obnoxious old lady next door. This is the pivotal point in the story where everything begins to spiral out of control for Fido and the Robinsons.
If you are expecting a horror film this probably will disappoint you. The film is a very whimsical and satirical look at the values that people had in the 50s. The entire film is kind of a play on that era and it brings back all kinds of iconic imagery from the 50s whether it be war or just the old fashioned cars of the era you have a little bit of it all here. I really felt sucked into this fictiticous world that director Andrew Currie had created on a very limited budget, The sets and props were all amazingly spot on down to the smallest detail.
Not only does it have amazing art direction but the actors in the film are brilliant. Carrie Ann Moss looks stunning as Timmy's Leave it to Beaver type Mother. Dylan Baker plays the distant and rather ignorant father. But I believe the best actor in the film has to go to Billy Connolly who plays the title character Fido. He has to say so much without saying a word and he nails it. His grunts and moans are about the only noises he can make but his facial expressions in certain scenes just speak for themselves. I was thoroughly impressed with what he was able to do without one line of dialogue.
The zombie FX is nothing to shake a stick at but it doesn't need to be. This film isn't about the scares its about the characters and the emotional bond between the family and Fido. There is actually one scene that I will mention that I loved. It is an aerial shot that looks like it was ripped right off of Old Yeller in which Timmy is running through a field with Fido. It just really looked beautiful like the entire film did with its vibrant colors abound. Helping build the emotion is a fantastic orchestral score by Don MacDonald.
Something that I was very surprised by was the R rating. There really is not much blood or gore in the entire film save a couple of sequences. I wish this film could have been given a real theatrical release because I had such a great time watching this. Its not your typical zombie film and I doubt you will have ever seen anything like this. Its what we as horror fans have been waiting for, something new and inventive to sink our teeth into.
The DVD looks like it has a lot of features but when you actually watch them you realize there isn't much there. Commentary, making of featurette, deleted scenes, a blooper reel and some other common DVD extras. But the one thing that I found really cool about the DVD is that if you pop it into your computer you can create your very own Zomcon ID and zombify yourself. A nice little extra feature to include with an already fantastic film.
This is definitely something that you need to go out and buy. I really can't recommend this film enough. Zombie fans will love this because it is finally something we have never seen done before and its done well. You won't find much horror here but you will find a great movie that will surely stand the test of time.
- Luke Franklin