This is difficult to watch. Like, C- film class project difficult to watch. The story centers on Francine. She is in grammar school with abusive, neglectful parents and a zombie for a brother. She is blamed for everything that goes wrong in the house and punishes relentlessly. Her parents, seemingly oblivious to their son’s condition, simply allow him to destroy everything in the house and punish her for it. When her brother finally starts biting everyone in town and turning them into zombies, she has to convince her father that the only way to survive is to work together. And it’s a family comedy.
Right off the top, let’s get something out of the way. It is impressive that anyone can get together the money, time, and resources to make their first film. They should be congratulated and even lauded for actually following through on their idea instead of just talking about it. However, that being said, there is just a great deal that doesn’t work here.
“…(Francine) is in grammar school with abusive neglectful parents and a zombie for a brother…”
The most difficult thing to watch in this film isn’t even the “horror” aspects. Instead, it is the “comedy.” Scenes are structured as though comedy is happening, but absolutely nothing funny ever happens. It would be like someone asking you to pass the lettuce then holding for a laugh. If this happened, you might be confused and perhaps a little angry. That is the experience of watching this movie.
Now, I suppose by exploring the unfair way Francine is treated, Zombie Bro could be tapping into some feelings that all young people go through. The universal experience of discovering that life just isn’t fair. The feeling that your siblings are getting preferential treatment. The fear that everyone in your family is out to get you. These are of course feelings we all have had as children, and in more capable hands this could have been the basis for a good movie.
On their website, they brag about how quickly the film was done and what a small budget they had. As if to say, “Can you believe we did this all in 10 days for $30,000?” Yes! That is, by far, the most believable thing about this movie.
“… by exploring the unfair way Francine is treated, Zombie Bro could be tapping into some feelings that all young people go through…”
There is, of course, no getting around the fact that Zombie Bro is a zombie film about a zombie outbreak. As such, there are only two possible endings. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that perhaps Miss Grehan could remember that this is billed as a family-friendly comedy.
In the promotional materials for Zombie Bro, Miss Grehan tells us that kids just love zombies. And this film is clearly geared to a much younger audience. So, perhaps I am just too old, jaded, and cynical to really get this film. Perhaps a lifetime of crushing disappointment has made me immune to the heartbreak of unfair and capricious parental discipline. Perhaps the weight of my wasted years has stripped from me the ability to see the wonder and joy in a zombie outbreak that a younger, more innocent person might experience. Perhaps, in short, this film is not meant for me.
Zombie Bro (2019) Directed by May Grehan. Written by May Grehan. Starring Lauren Grego, Anthony Taufa, Cooper Flynn, Karina Bracken
1 out of 10