Vinny (Wolfgang Weber) and Sebastian (Beau Nelson) are two drug-addled burnouts who have easily seen better days. Always chasing a better high, the two decide that the quality of drugs in the area is too weak for their tastes, and that they should go into business for themselves. With the help of Sebastian’s girlfriend Kara’s (Susan Graham) friend Melissa (Natalie Irby), who just so happens to have some extra cash due to an inheritance, the group hop into the drug dealing business.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy, and the quartet have to deal with shady suppliers, irate customers and the occasional bad trip or two. Plus, you know, Vinny is haunted by the ghost of his dead brother Michael (Alex Ballar), and he may or may not be experiencing hallucinations about zombies. Sebastian hallucinates too, but he has narcolepsy, and often humps imaginary women in his sleep (much to the chagrin of Kara, who thinks cheating is cheating, even if it’s with imaginary women).
If the title, All American Zombie Drugs, leads you to believe that this is going to be some drug-friendly spin on the zombie genre… you’re both right and wrong. There are zombie-tastic moments in this film, but not to the extent that you might suspect; this isn’t Shaun of the Dead on acid, for example. Honestly, by the time the film makes good on the expectations the title creates, it’s almost over.
Which means that most of this movie is spending time with a bunch of drug addicts as they plan their business, or get high, or plan their business while getting high. It could be a boring experience if it wasn’t for the fact that the film looks as good as it does, and the performances are as solid as they are. Sure, Sebastian’s penchant for sleep-humping gets old, and the short attention span that seems to come over all of them from time to time can be more than a little annoying, but all of the characterizations work, and the film has enough charm otherwise to make up for the moments when it is less interesting.
And frankly, while this film doesn’t make light of drug use, or go straight into parody, at least it wasn’t a dour indie film about the tragic consequences of addiction. I’ve seen lots of those films, and some very good ones at that, but it is nice to get something different that isn’t entirely caricature on one side or depressingly heavy on the other. Now, had this movie gone on for another 99 minutes, perhaps we’d be in depressing tragedy land considering the amount of drugs this group does, but that’s not this movie.
In the end, All American Zombie Drugs is an entertaining film with enough freshness to its narrative to help it standout. I think the title fosters unfounded expectations, but that’s a matter of interpretation and perspective (an argument could be made that title couldn’t be anymore exact considering the subject matter, and I’d buy that). The film might be too slow for some tastes, too zany for others, but overall I enjoyed how it delivered its story.
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