Sam and Mattie Make a Zombie Movie is about the titular best friends and their decade-long quest to complete their short film, Spring Break Zombie Massacre. Their joyful demeanor and enthusiasm to create this project led to many people in their hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, to pitch in and help out. And that is the entire movie. It is part biography of Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt, a look at how the creative process can bring a whole town to rally for one’s cause, and primarily, the documentary is behind the scenes at producing a low budget, high concept film.
“…about the titular best friends and their decade-long quest to complete their short film…”
Sam’s brother, Jesse Suchmann, and his friend, Robert Carnevale, started filming after creating a (successful) Kickstarter campaign for the comedy-horror title. That footage, coupled with scenes shot throughout the years of attempting to get the project off the ground, interspersed with things the best friends filmed as they were growing up, makes for a very intimate look at the production of Spring Break Zombie Massacre. The directors do an excellent job at making viewers like care, and root for the two friends, as their dream movie evolves and takes longer and longer to reach the finish line. The story is quite inspiring, and any struggling filmmaker will find hope as they watch it play out.
Once filming actually gets underway, Suchmann and Carnevale wisely leave in the good and bad. There are days where everyone was far too hot and uncomfortable to concentrate on the scene at hand. This allows this underdog tale to feel realistic. Yes, this is a documentary, and therefore, it is about an actual event. But, if the bad elements were pushed aside to make this feel like a magical fairytale, who could properly relate to it? The highs and triumphs, so rightfully earned by Sam Suchmann, Mattie Zufelt, and the entire cast and crew, are genuinely felt by all watching because the hardships and obstacles they faced are presented in a tangible way.
"…a lively, energetic affair, bolstered by its titular subjects infectious and winning personalities."