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American Zombie
American Zombie
Actors: John Durbin, Paul Eiding, Jesse D. Goins, Raymond Ma, Lorna Scott
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
UR     2008     1hr 31min

Filmmakers Grace Lee ( The Grace Lee Project ) and John Solomon ( Nonsense Man ) team up to shoot a documentary about high-functioning zombies living in Los Angeles and their struggles to gain acceptance in human society.D...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: John Durbin, Paul Eiding, Jesse D. Goins, Raymond Ma, Lorna Scott
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Parody & Spoof, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Cinema Libre
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 07/08/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Michael G. (mgmirkin) from PORTLAND, OR
Reviewed on 6/26/2010...
The previous reviewer was too kind in not pointing out the film's VERY APPARENT deficiencies...

This has got to be the most BORING zombie movie on the face of the planet.

The acting is bad, the zombie effects are almost non-existent. Zombies are portrayed basically as "normal people." Look, if I wanted to watch a boring movie about boring "normal people" I'd go watch something else. This is supposed to be a ZOMBIE movie. Where are the ZOMBIES doing ZOMBIE THINGS?

There are no scares. There is no humor. I certainly never laughed once during the movie. It's just one long boring piece of nonsense. There's very little by the way of plot. There's certainly no climax or resolution. he movie just peters out into nothingness by the end. We don't really LEARN anything.

Documentary, parody, spoof, ZomCom, zombie movie? It fails on all fronts. I would have turned it off after the first 1/2 hour, but I kep hoping that SOMEthing interesting would happen. Sufficie it to say, nothing did.

Didn't make the same mistake twice and turned off Zombies Anonymous after about the first 1/2 hour when it utterly failed to deliver anything of substance. Edges of Darkness was an equally dismal failure.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Melissa B. (rxrcds)
Reviewed on 11/6/2008...
Quirky little mockumentary about 2 directors making a film about the zombie's way of life. Grace wants the film to be more serious while John is searching for verification of the gruesome reality of brain eating. Starts off a bit slow, as most docu/mockumentaries do. Just setting the scene with several zombies: the leader of ZAG, a floral designer, convenience store clerk, and health food sales person.

The crew finds out about Live Dead, a woodstock for zombies and wish to attend, but it is zombies only. They receive permission and all seems well and good until day 3 and the zombie's true natures begin to surface.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

One Of The Best Zombie Movies In The Genre
Steech | Birmingham, AL | 10/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"At this point as a society, we've coupled zombies and comedy. I'm sure there are a myriad of compelling psychological reasons why this is so. But whatever our complex need to attach comedic value to something as existentially horrifying as reanimated corpses, it manifests itself in an equally complex milieu. The zombie/comedy dyad operates within a very wide spectrum. Zombie movies can be hilariously funny, a la Sean of the Dead, or stark and terrifying, as in the original Night of the Living Dead (which uses only a sprinkling of comedy to balance the effect).

I think the other reviewers may have expected this movie to be a lot more screwball than it was. The fact that it wasn't doesn't constitute a failure. The slapstick zombie movie is only one type of a surprisingly complex subgenre of cinema. And this ain't it.

American Zombie asks viewers to suspend disbelief to its very limits, and assume that zombies are both real and that they are deserving of deeper consideration. For anyone who ever spent more than an hour in discussion of zombie physiology, cause, and social consequence, this movie is like candy.

The movie (which is conducted like a documentary) follows four "high-functioning" zombies living (also dating, consuming, and working) among regular humans in Los Angeles. Each subject has his or her own take on his unique "condition."

The general feeling of the film is the same as that of a documentary following people diagnosed with an untreatable medical condition. Ivan begins with the statement (paraphrased), "I don't know how long it will be before my body decomposes, so I'm living each day at a time." A second character, Lisa, is first seen wandering (a little plaintively) in a cemetery, admiring funerary bouquets and wondering if she'll ever know who she was in life.

The film plunges into the cause of zombiism: namely that some people carry an inert virus in the brain that isn't activated until the host is the victim of violent death. American Zombie then quickly investigates other compelling ideas like the implication of being an adult with essentially no identity and how the families respond to a loved one who was first a victim then a reanimated corpse with no memory of their past.

The film also investigates how the civil infrastructure manages a zombie population existing in tandem with the human population, from city government census agencies to a not-for-profit advocacy group working to avoid sweatshop-type exploitation of zombie workers.

There are a number of secondary themes, from zombie sexuality to zombie art. The effect is of a fully fleshed out scenario that lacks the gaping continuity holes that characterize 95% of zombie films. It gives the considerate viewer ample material to chew over and provides plenty of meat for discussion (pardon the necrophagy pun). Which, for an audience who groans at every inconsistency and implausibility that plague the genre, proffers a film that addresses our core hunger for a socially responsible zombie movie.

Finally, the film also follows the "filmmakers'" creative and production process. This is actually a little annoying for the first half of the film, and feels a little Lisa Ling (National Geographic)-ish. However, when the filmmakers disprove their own thesis statement, and find that their subjects are not the same as a cancer patient and cannot simply assimilate into the human population, the coverage of the filmmakers takes on a much more urgent life.

The climax of the film is a complete shock, which alone is rare in a well canvassed subgenre of cinema such as zombie movies. I won't ruin it. So I will conclude by saying American Zombie is as much unlike a George Romero or Sean of the Dead movie as one can get and has what it takes to delight and surprise veteran zombie aficionados. More casual audiences might lament it's lack of visual one-liners and lack of back to back gore scenes. But fans of the genre should seek this one out, as it's an infrequent example of a film doing something different with the zombie theme. It's a welcome addition to the canon.
A film with a very narrow audience
S. Horwatt | Cincinnati, OH | 03/26/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I think the number of people that fall into the target audience for this film is really, really small.

First off, let me say that it is a very well made film, a very slick production that captures the feel of a documentary exceptionally well (as I suppose it should, since Grace Lee apparently makes documentaries). I also think the concept of the film is very clever (that zombies live among us, but they're just another misunderstood and downtrodden subclass...or are they?).

Having said that, it's kind of an odd mix of styles and I'm not sure who will ultimately enjoy the film. I'm not sure how many people who are attracted to the zombie film genre will also be interested in a film which is at its heart a media and identity politics satire. And I'm not sure how many people looking for a media satire will be interested in the zombie subject matter.

I see there is a bit of a debate raging as to what this film actually is: mockumentary, faux documentary, horror movie, etc. I don't really know what the difference between a mockumentary and a faux documentary is. If the difference is that mockumentaries are comedies and faux documentaries are not necessarily comedies, I have to say I think this is intended to be primarily a comedy (or at least, as I said, satire...and my understanding of satire is that it's generally intended to be funny). True, it's a relatively dark and low key comedy, but still a comedy.

Part of the film's problem may be how it is promoted (to the limited extent that it has been promoted); the Netflix capsule review of American Zombie opens: "Part mockumentary, part unabashed gore-fest..."

Well, we can argue about whether or not it's a mockumentary, and it's a matter of personal experience whether it's scary or not, but I don't think anyone could honestly describe this film as "part unabashed gore-fest." So to the extent that that tag would draw the core audience for more typical zombie movies, I think those people will be disappointed.

On the whole, I found it worth watching for its novelty, and I think the film makers hit exactly what they were trying to hit (I'm just not sure how many people are out there waiting for a film to hit that).

My favorite moment: John keeps insisting that the film explore whether or not zombies are eating human flesh. Grace, in irritation, lashes out with the question: "Why do you insist on essentializing zombies to their biological functions?"

If you don't think that's funny, don't get this movie."
Excellent in every way
blackbour | 11/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"An excellent, intellectually stimulating film, much needed in a sub genre full of dross. It engages on many levels and you can really get into the people they meet, they are very interesting.

This is a film that starts light and fluffy, even funny and amusing in places then by the end is deadly serious, those sweet friendly zombies are suddenly clearly as sweet and friendly as a rabid rottweiler. It scared the pants off me and made me worried about the topic - one that doesn't even exist!! Excellent effort. Especially the closing scene.

The one star review here on the page by another reviewer is undeserved. Mockumentaries are not always comedies and don't have to be comedies. They can be comedirs (e.g. Spinal Tap and the other reviewer mentions Zelig) but they can also be deadly serious. There are many serious examples (like the recent post apocalyptic one set in San Francisco- "Ever Since the World Ended")."