It's always refreshing to watch a film that has a new and fun take on the zombie metaphor. In the case of A Little Bit Zombie, directed by Casey Walker, that take is the change that love and marriage bring. The film is a very funny and unique take on the usual zombie film, and even the zombie comedy, through its use of some outrageous characters, screwball comedy and familial situations that had me and the audience laughing pretty continuously.
Steve (Kristopher Turner), his fiancee Tina (Crystal Lowe), his sister Sarah (Kristen Hager) and her husband Craig (Shawn Roberts) are taking a little cottage vacation before the big wedding day. Tina is, to be frank, something of a bridezilla, and Steve spends the first part of the film trying to make peace between her and Sarah, whose dislike of Tina and her intensity is pretty evident. Meanwhile, Max (Stephen McHattie) and Penelope (Emilie Ullerop) are zombie hunters, using a ancient orb to seek and destroy. But when a mosquito bites a zombie, sucking in its blood, and then transfers that blood to Steve, he starts to turn, and when he finally admits the problem, Tina, it seems, will go to any lengths to make sure the wedding happens, even if it means finding brains for her love.
In many ways, this film is a very, well, Canadian take on the zombie film. Steve is just such a nice guy, he can't bear the thought of eating human brains. Turner projects a great image of this clean-cut guy, whose career in conflict resolution leads him to find solutions such that would have him avoid killing, even as his desire from brains becomes overwhelming. No one but a Canadian (though the film is supposed to be Anywhere, North America) would hunt wild animals with a broken hockey stick and a lacrosse net. Indeed, the screwball comedy flair comes in as Tina and Sarah take over the situation, at first fighting and then banding together to find some fresh meat. Craig is the loveable idiot sidekick, trying to help but usually making things worse. It feels frequently like a bizarro version of I Love Lucy or a Doris Day/Rock Hudson film. Each character provides a different voice, fighting against the others as they try (and usually fail) to figure out the problem.
Though of course, whenever McHattie comes on the screen, he owns it. He's exactly the kind of curmudgeon, take-no-prisoners zombie hunter you would expect. He's the perfect foil to the perfect pseudo-familial comedy of the quartet, rampaging over everything in his desire to kill, so much so that he ignores other solutions. But this of course adds to the humour. You just know someday he'll go down in a blaze of wise-cracking glory.
The story moves perfectly in synch, escalating the strange situation, and finding the comedy in each moment; a few points at which the energy starts to dip, another obstacle is thrown in the way. But none of the obstacles are situations are without meaning or importance, or thrown in as a distraction. (The scenes where Steve tries to figure out how to eat a human brain, and Tina attempts some cosmetic surgery on her fiancé, are priceless). It's filled the the usual redneck characters one finds in 'cabin-in-the-woods' horror films, and each play their part. This is very much tongue-in-cheek, and lacks the serious action and gore of a lot of zombie films, but it more than makes up for it in self-referentiality and fun.
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