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Overall Rating
3.84

Awesome: 9.38%
Worth A Look68.75%
Just Average: 18.75%
Pretty Crappy: 3.13%
Sucks: 0%

4 reviews, 8 user ratings


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Fido
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by Mel Valentin

"Rotting zombies are people too (well, more or less)."
4 stars

Just when you thought the zombie sub-genre was dead and buried (sorry, couldn’t resist), along comes "Fido," a slyly subversive, satirical horror-comedy co-written and directed by Andrew Currie ("Sleep Murder," "Mile Zero"). Mixing and matching multiple genres, from the zombie/undead horror sub-genre initiated by George A. Romero in 1968 with "Night of the Living Dead," 1950s-era melodramas that critiqued social conformity, and 50s-era boy-and-his-dog family films, "Fido" may sound like a potentially entertaining parody (it’s that, of course), but, in not taking itself too seriously, it’s wonderfully campy from start to finish and for genre fans, occasionally gory too.

Several decades after the Earth passed through a radioactive cloud and reanimated corpses into flesh-eating ghouls, the survivors have congregated in gated, 1950s-era towns and cities. Zombies have taken over the so-called “Wild Zone,” outside the towns and cities. Inside, the inhabitants live a mostly idyllic existence thanks mostly to the efforts of ZomCom, a corporation that arose from the wars to eradicate the zombies. Thanks to an electronic collar created by an enterprising ZomCom scientist, Dr. Hrothgar Geiger (Andy Parkin), zombies have become domestic servants, pets, manual laborers, and even lovers. For those on the inside, having a zombie servant is also a status symbol. If, however, a collar malfunctions and a zombie goes on a flesh-eating spree, the zombie’s owners are subject to severe penalties, including exile.

In this brave, new, zombie-plagued world, Timmy Robinson (K'Sun Ray), a precocious, open-minded preteen, can’t help but wonder aloud if the zombies are, in fact, dead. Unfortunately, Timmy puts this question to Jonathan Bottoms (Henry Czerny), ZomCom’s new Head of Security who’s just moved in across the street with his wife, Dee Dee (Jennifer Clement), and Cindy (Alexia Fast), Timmy’s new classmate. Timmy’s golf-loving, zombie-fearing father, Bill (Dylan Baker), and status-obsessed, conformist mother, Helen (Carrie-Anne Moss) eventually agree to purchase a zombie of their own. Timmy gives their new zombie (Billy Connolly) a name, Fido for his pet-like qualities. Soon enough, Timmy sees Fido as a friend. Complications ensue, however, when Fido’s collar malfunctions and he decides to snack on the neighborhood snoop, Mrs. Henderson (Mary Black).

Andrew Currie and his co-screenwriters, Robert Chomiak and Dennis Heaton, mixes and matches elements drawn from the familiar undead sub-genre developed by George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Day, Land of the Dead). Once resurrected, the undead in Fido have a craving for human flesh. The undead can be only destroyed by gunshot to the head or other, usually violent head-body separations. As in Day of the Dead, the undead in Fido have become useful members in the post-apocalyptic order. As in Land of the Dead, the survivors try to carry on as before with minimal changes to their pre-zombie plague lifestyles. Romero’s gore-drenched films also came with social commentary, critiquing racism, mass consumerism, militarism, class relations, and a civil liberties-denying, fear-based society.

Not surprisingly, Fido has plenty of Romero-influenced subtext and then some. Fido explores suburban conformity, corporatism, political paranoia, and segregation, all within a post-apocalyptic world. In Fido, zombies are obvious stand-ins for African-Americans. They’re allowed to interact with the living, but only in socially proscribed ways. Considering them as friends or potential lovers is to humanize them and that’s something that ZomCom, a corporation that also functions as the de facto government, frowns upon. The ZomCom’s head of security, Jonathan Bottoms, uses a word steeped in 50s-era anti-communism, “containment,” when talking about zombies.

All that subtext makes Fido sound like a super-serious political or social treatise, right? It isn’t. Or rather, it’s more than that, thanks to a hilarious screenplay that takes the zombies-in-50s-America premise as far as it can go (and then some). Fido derives much of its humor from incongruities that spring up organically from the premise (e.g., zombies-as-pets, zombies-as-servants, zombies-as-lovers), as well as the boy and his dog sub-genre popular in the 1950s. The lead character’s name, Timmy, was not uncommon in the boy-and-his-dog family man. Not surprisingly, Fido also includes a rescue scene typical of the boy-and-his-dog sub-genre. And when schoolchildren sing "In the brain and not the chest, headshots are the very best," you know you're in for a unique, blackly comic experience.

As clever, amusing, and subversive as "Fido" turns out to be, though, it’s likely to disappoint some genre fans, specifically fans that expect buckets of gore with their flesh-eating ghouls. "Fido" may be light on gore (minus, to be fair, the occasional blood-splattered head shot), but it's also heavier on subtext than the average genre entry not directed by George A. Romero and that alone should be enough to entice moviegoers looking for freshness or originality from the zombie sub-genre.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14862&reviewer=402
originally posted: 07/06/07 13:34:30
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2006 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Vancouver Film Festival For more in the 2006 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2007 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Portland Film Festival For more in the 2007 Portland Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2007 Florida Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 San Francisco Independent Film Festival For more in the 2007 San Francisco Independent Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Deep Focus Film Festival For more in the 2007 Deep Focus Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Independent Film Festival of Boston For more in the 2007 Independent Film Festival of Boston series, click here.

User Comments

3/20/13 Horror Movie Medication Great review. I like the way you think. Personally, I think this movie has all the right th 5 stars
9/08/10 ES This little kid gets his very own zombie as a pet and well, fun ensues. 4 stars
6/20/10 brian Allegedly humorous. Everyone in the film is so stupid it's hard to side with anyone. 2 stars
7/03/07 William Goss A one-note joke carried out relatively well. 4 stars
6/17/07 Luke I loved this flick, it's really funny and ona totally diff level than Shaun 4 stars
2/27/07 Jennifer Spry So creative, I was interested throughout! 5 stars
9/14/06 Kristen Townsend out of the box, go see it, it's fun somewhat mindless tho, just so ya know 4 stars
9/12/06 Edward Connell Death with a lift of humourous activities,delightful events played out. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Jun-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 23-Oct-2007

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