Sunday, October 19, 2014

Movie Review: "Fido" (2006)

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Director: Andrew Currie
Year: 2006
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

In America in the 1950's, radiation from space has reanimated the dead. A zombie plague has hit Earth and a corporation named Zomcon has figured out how to stop it: by shooting zombies in the head. Not only that, but Zomcon has developed a collar that allows people to use zombies as household servants. Everything is fine, as long as the collar stays on. If it malfunctions, the zombie reverts to being a flesh eating monster. Timmy Robinson (Kesun Loder) is an unpopular boy and has no friends until his mom, Helen (Carrie-Anne Moss), brings home a zombie that he names Fido (Billy Connolly). When Fido's collar malfunctions, he kills a local old woman, turning her into a zombie on the loose. The old woman goes on to kill more citizens and starts to turn the entire town. 

This film is yet another in the long line of horror comedies we have found ourselves watching this season. It is a clear satire of both zombie movies and 1950's America, crossing un-dead humans and limb-eating with colorful buildings and outfits, white picket fences, and Ozzie and Harriet beds. The music is chipper and upbeat, though bodies are being dismembered on occasion. From obviously fake backgrounds while characters are driving to strategically placed Jello molds, which are all readily present, we really enjoy the setting and concept of the movie. Turning zombies into servants and/or pets for the living to use and abuse is a good enough idea on its own, but when you throw in 1950's mindsets and lifestyle choices, somehow, this makes the film that much more funny.

"Fido" uses the concept that, no matter how you die, whether you're bitten or not, you become a zombie by default because of the solar radiation. Think "The Walking Dead," but in the 50's. This leads to humorous commercials and educational films play on television and in classrooms that let people know that older citizens are not to be trusted, and that they can drop dead at any moment and become a zombie. There are a lot of other nuggets of misinformation being propagated by the media to help Zomcon save face whenever possible and to delude the public into a sense of false safety. Another interesting aspect of the film is its use of funerals. Those who have died and could afford a funeral are decapitated and their heads are buried in a special Head Coffin. This service is only afforded by the top 10% of the population, whereas 90% are left to be zombie servants after their deaths. It is actually illegal to have a non-Zomcon funeral, and anyone caught breaking this law will be sent to The Wild Zone, where people are not protected by the walls and regulations of Zomcon.

The actual zombies aren't overly gross or decaying, but still manage to look dead. We didn't even know Billy Connolly was Fido until we looked it up on IMDB. The makeup work done on his face was really good, though simplified. He manages to pull off a great performance, even though he has no dialogue and resorts to grunting and groaning. His weird teeth-bearing zombie smile is hilarious. Carrie-Ann Moss was a good choice for Helen, an obvious social climber who winds up having some sort of strange emotional connection with her zombie servant. She puts on the typical perky outward appearance, but really longs for attention and romance and fun. Dylan Baker plays her husband Bill, a distant zombie-fearing stereotypical 50's dad, who would rather golf than spend time with his son.

Though the premise of zombies is one that has been used time and time again, this movie manages to put a unique and comical satire on the notion of the un-dead.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 71%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching"Evil Dead 2"

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