In accordance with the rising popularity of realistic depictions of the mythical zombies such as the recorded oral biography of World War Z , The Zombie Survival Guide, and Diary of the Dead, American Zombie is a mockumentary of the zombie subculture in America. According to the film, about five-thousand zombies reside in the LA area. They are the walking dead, reanimated by a disease that lays dormant until the time of death before it finally revitalizes the brain.
There are three types of zombies. The complete irrational zombies who stumble around like bumbling idiots, resulting to violence if provoked. Then there are the medium-functioning zombies who are stable enough to perform low-functioning tasks such as factory work and what not. These zombies are often used as a cheap labor force. Then there are high functioning zombies. Though they still may be rotting away like the average corpse, they are, for the most part, human-like in every fashion. They don’t remember who they were in life, but they function and act as any regular human would. They have unfulfilled dreams and constant cravings to be more human.
In fact, there’s a self-hating zombie, a Judy, who clearly wishes to be human. She maintains a simple job as a customer service representative for a health-food company. Her refrigerator is filled with soy-based products, and her bookshelf is filled with scrapbooks of solitary events. She dreams of marrying a regular human man and to one day have children. Adopt children that is, since zombies cannot biologically bear children. She’s the zombie that is ashamed of her death-like-state and wants to live the American dream. At the same time, she will never be accepted by the American culture. Her supposed boyfriend is nothing more than an acquaintance Judy sometimes stalks. But no matter how she pretends, her flesh still decays. As she rots away, she still yearns for something more.
Lisa is another such zombie that has a yearning. Though this one yearns for history. She wishes to know who she once was. She thinks she might have been an artist and is determined to convince everyone around her of this with her void-representative string-art. In reality, though, she I just another dead creature, infested with devouring worms and on the brink of insanity from her neighbor’s modern rock. She becomes the suicidal zombie without a belief in something great from her past life.
Joel is yet another zombie that yearns for something greater. Revolution. Equality for all dead-kind. Joel heads a supposed zombie social organization that sets up jobs and residences for the walking dead. By movie’s end it is discovered that he desires superiority of his kind over all humans.
The flick concludes with the creeping realization that zombies are just not an oppressed and diseased group of people, but they are indeed the flesh-eating creatures the media has portrayed them to be. At a zombie festival, the filmmakers witness living humans being sacrificed to a hungry crowd of zombies. The filmmakers attempt to question Joel, but it is later discovered that the entire zombie organization has no official standing as a charity and that their work is mostly fraud. A sort of front for a zombie revolution.
Judy herself, the self-hating zombie, succumbs to her fleshly desires and chomps on the creator of the entire documentary, John. John is left to mercy of the undead as he is reanimated and works at a factory as a low-functioning zombie.
I suppose the creepiest part is how sad many of these zombies are. Judy has been so self-restraining that she ended up turning into the thing she feared most. Joel is a self-righteous zombie that shadows that of “liberating” extremists who believe that the ultimate goal is to kill supposed oppressors. And then there is the artist Lisa, who is most definitely suicidal. This depression stems from her lack of self-appreciation. Not knowing if she had accomplished anything in life, she has certainly not accomplished anything in death. No one even cares to appreciate her pathetic attempts at art. Thus she does the only thing she believes she can do and murders someone in order to get the death penalty. After all, destroying the brain is much too difficult to do by oneself.
These dead characters all preach that they are more than brainless characters, but prove in the end that they are still flesh-eating creatures.
Overall I enjoyed this flick. I understand that its end may seem a little abrupt, but I believe that if there were more of a build-up to the zombies’ dark behavior, the movie had a danger of dragging on too long. Instead, they allowed the movie to end. It may have been a bit sloppy, but I still believe that it was worth watching.