Review: Fido

Set in a warped 1950s American suburbia, wherein Zombies have started to rise from the grave due to a radioactive cloud or something. But never mind, a company called Zomcom (coz every company in 50s/60s America had the word ‘com’ somewhere in the title, think Jack Arnold’s employer Norcom on TV’s “The Wonder Years”) is on hand to domesticate the living dead via a sophisticated form of dog collar that allows zombies to be kept as servants to families all across America (And hey, if it’s good enough for Mr. and Mrs. Jones to have a zombie...). One such Cleaver-ish family is headed by zombie-hating dad Dylan Baker, the more humane mom Carrie-Ann Moss, and kid K’Sun Ray who takes a liking to his new ‘pet’ zombie, whom he names Fido (Legendary Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, in the year’s strangest casting decision). Poor Dad starts to get concerned that the kid, and even wifey are treating Fido not only like an accepted member of the family, but maybe even seen as more important than he! Henry Czerny (whose presence alone signals that we’re watching a Canadian film) plays the hateful, pipe-smoking head of Zomcom security, who warns Baker of the dangers a zombie can pose (which I would’ve thought obvious, but never mind), and Tim Blake Nelson is very amusing as a nerdy neighbour whose sexy blonde Zombie is his personal slave of another kind (I know, Eeeewwwww. But you just know there’s someone crazy enough to try it, should the situation arise, so to speak).

Admirable, watchable 2006 Andrew Currie zombie comedy is a classic case of ‘good idea, bad execution’. On paper, the ideas are all there; a mixture of zombie comedy and “Pleasantville” 50s-style send-up (the distrust of old people here is hilarious, and I loved Baker’s line ‘I just don’t think on my salary I could afford another funeral’), but ultimately the film is pretty drab, uneventful (the film’s one big joke about domesticated Flesh-eaters mowing lawns and such gets tired after a while), and too sappy. There’s also very little gore for the most part (at least, compared to most in the genre), which will upset the gore-hounds.

The cast is pretty good, Moss especially. She’s clearly modelling her performance, and even her voice on Joan Allen in “Pleasantville”, but doing it so well I might argue it’s Moss’ best performance to date). Connolly deserves credit for at least trying to make something out of an impossible role (But whose dumbfuck idea was it to keep the hilariously gifted talker Connolly, mostly mute?). The best thing is the amusing opening, with some clever 50s-style tutorials/instructional videos concerning zombies. The screenplay is by the director, Robert Chomiak, and Dennis Heaton, from a story by Heaton.

If you’ve ever wanted to see what a John Waters version of “Dawn of the Dead” would be like, this would be it, except without much of Waters’ edge and perverse sense of humour (some have called it George Romero meets Douglas Sirk). It’s a little better than the supremely overrated “Shaun of the Dead”, but no “Zombieland”.

Rating: C+


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