Today’s Killtoberfest movie is Fido. The film’s concept is interesting but flawed, and the execution is decent but lackluster. I’m kind of tempted to leave it at that, with upwards of 30 more reviews to do.
But alright, let’s cut right to the chase. The film posits a 1950s-style suburban society (pastels, hats and housewives) living in a fenced enclosure surrounded by zombie-infested land. They’re all good little conformists and consumers, employed by town company Zomcon; after humanity won the zombie war, Zomcon invented a way to control and enslave zombies as menial laborers. One such zombie is purchased by the main character’s family and changes everything they blah blah blah you get the picture.
The fundamental issue with the film is that it doesn’t seem to know (or be able to focus on) what exactly it’s trying to satirize. What do the zombies symbolize? Multiple choice, open book:
A) As literal slaves, the zombies are metaphors for blacks and otherwise downtrodden people whose oppression supported The Bullshit Society of the 1950s.
B) As prisoners of war, the zombies are metaphors for the violence of the World Wars, whose outcome fueled the economy which supported The Bullshit Society of the 1950s.
C) As symbols of the dead, the zombies are metaphors of everything repressed and denied by The Bullshit Society of the 1950s.
D) As zombies, the zombies symbolize zombies, stop overthinking this.
The problem with (A) is that, since they’re actually zombies, they’re actually dangerous and their mind control collars are completely justified.
The problem with (B) is that, as metaphorical POWs, their violence would actually be justified (isn’t it the duty of every soldier to try and escape?)
The problem with (C) is that nobody in the film has a healthy relationship with death–in particular, the main kid is friendly with his zombie but nonchalant about people around him getting murdered. Nor is the film particularly concerned with actual depictions of repressed concepts like minorities, poverty, etc.
The problem with (D) is then there’s no reason for this to be set in the Bullshit Society of the 1950s.
Actually, I think what they’re really trying to go after is conformity, with the zombies standing in for any wide social change to which everyone’s reaction must be the same. But again, the zombie part of that distracts and contradicts from that idea. The movie might have been fantastic if the slaves had not been “traditional” Romero-esque cannibalistic zombies, but simply the reanimated dead, not dangerous at all but still eerie and unnerving. But that would have meant giving up the comedic sensibility of somebody being eaten in front of a white picket fence.
So maybe my real problem with the movie is that Pleasantville did all of this much, much better. Yeah. Go watch Pleasantville instead.