Reviewed by: Donny Broussard
What's it about
Two filmmakers team up to document the lives of four high functioning zombies living in Los Angeles.
Is it good movie?
American Zombie is in my opinion, by far the freshest take on the zombie genre since Shaun of the Dead. Director Grace Lee takes traditional zombie conventions and turns them upside down, resulting in a clever film that not only entertains, but is also thought provoking as well.
John Solomon is a filmmaker with an idea, but very little drive to actually finish a film. So he contacts award-winning filmmaker Grace Lee and convinces her to tackle his idea with him. The two of them then set out document the lives of four high functioning zombies living in Los Angeles. The zombies themselves are the stars of the movie, thereís Ivan, who works at a convenience store and spends his free time working on his American Zombie zine, Judy, the quirky zombie that collects anything with a cat on it, Lisa, the neurotic florist that enjoys creating string art, and last but not least Joel, the activist and founder of ZAG (Zombie Advocacy Group).
After following the zombies around for a while the filmmakers notice a few odd things that make them suspicious of their zombie subjects. Are these zombies really just like everyone else, or do they chew on human flesh behind closed doors? Itís questions like this that provoke the filmmakers into attending a zombies only event called Live Dead. Once there the filmmakers witness events that quickly make them realize that they might just be in over their heads.
This film is brilliant, a definite must see for any zombie fan. Grace Lee paints a portrait of a world that is very similar to the post 911 world that we all live in, and populates it with characters that live and breathe on the screen. All of the actors do a wonderful job, Suzy Nakamura (Judy) gave a standout performance, and Lee herself did a bang up job in front of the camera on top of her duties as director.
I enjoyed this flick from the first frame to the very last. The effects were adequate, the actors were on their marks, the direction and visual style of the flick was well thought out, but most of all the filmmakers took a common genre character into uncharted territory.
Video / Audio
Video: The video looks like video, but this look fits in beautifully with the films documentary style.
Audio: Loud and clear.
Commentary: The commentary track with the cast, writer and director was pretty cool. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and listening to director Grace Lee talk about the flick was insightful.
Behind the Scenes Featurette: This feature was really cool. There are interviews with cast and crew, production video, and lots of funny moments. I wish all filmmakers would put features like this on their DVDs.
Theatrical Trailer: Nothing new here, just a cool trailer for a cool flick.
If your looking for flesh eating zombies and buckets of gore, then look elsewhere, but if your looking for a fresh take on a classic genre character this is the movie for you. The filmmakers made a movie that rises above all the processed imitation crap that Hollywood passes off as horror, and they did so without remaking a classic. I knew original ideas still existed I just hadnít seen any in quite a while, props to everyone involved with this movie. Do yourself a favor, support new ideas and rent this movie.