Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 87 minutes
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As A Little Bit Zombie opens, grizzled zombie hunter Max (Stephen McHattie) is taking down a slew of zombies in the woods. His partner, Penelope (Emilie Ullerup), uses a glowing orb to let him know where the zombies will be attacking from, and he does the rest. They wipe out the zombie camp, but not before a mosquito bites one of the zombie victims, becoming infected itself.
From there, we get a zombie mosquito POV as it makes its way into the path of the carload of unsuspecting vacationers. With their wedding coming up, Steve (Kristopher Turner) has planned a cabin in the woods retreat so that his high maintenance bride-to-be Tina (Crystal Lowe) can finally bond with Steve’s sister Sarah (Kristen Hager), her “matron of honor.” Rude, crude and often hilarious Craig (Shawn Roberts) is along for the ride because he’s the best man, with Sarah and, generally, what else would he do? All is not-so-passively aggressive for the group when Tina goes into “insane bride” mode and convinces everyone to work on wedding decorations at the cabin, and things are stopped just shy of full-blown confrontation when our zombie mosquito peels itself off the car windshield and invades the cabin, sinking its… sucker thingie… into Steve. Repeatedly.
Over the next few days, Steve begins to change. He seems to be nauseous whenever he eats, his skin is ice cold, he can’t find his pulse and he drools uncontrollably at the speaking or hearing of the word “brains.” He’s not a violent, rage-filled killer, though. He’s still pushover Steve, only now he needs to figure out how to get that which he craves, brains, while not becoming a monster. Will Tina stick by him? Will Sarah and Tina put their differences aside to help Steve? Does Craig know his only existence on this cinematic planet is to be comic relief?
A Little Bit Zombie is a fun walk through horror conventions while sticking mostly in comedy territory. Sure, there’s gore and some gross-out gags, but for the most part this flick isn’t about what’s going to scare you next, but more about what’ll get the next laugh. And as the most inept zombie ever, Steve causes more than his fair share of giggles. It’s hard to feast on brains when you’re a passive loser all the time (though it makes sense why he sticks with Tina, she’s definitely in charge there, but I do wonder why she sticks with him sometimes).
On the aesthetic side of things, having the zombie virus travel by mosquito is pretty cool. Showing the mosquito’s POV as it flies around all zombie-like is even better. Hearing the mosquito buzz in what can best be described as “mosquito zombie rage” puts it over the top. The effect could’ve gotten really annoying had it gone on longer than it did, but the filmmakers use it to its maximum effectiveness and then it’s mostly about Steve and his changes. Mostly.
If there is a weakness to A Little Bit Zombie, it comes in the film’s need to cut away from the main crew to check in with our zombie hunting duo from the opening, Max and Penny. While, at first, it seems nice to give us an update as to their whereabouts and show that they’re trying to figure out what could be going on after their opening zombie slaughter, it starts to become tiresome. Yes, we get it, Max is crude and loves bacon. While I understand the need to remind the audience that these two will figure in to the film a bit more down the line, checking in with them betrays that purpose so obviously that it’s almost like a commercial break from the more interesting, and entertaining, story of Steve’s coping with his living-zombie changes.
Other than that consistent interruption throughout, though, there isn’t much else that I didn’t like about the film. It finds the right mix of black comedy, gross-out bits and creeping horror, making it extremely entertaining. Much of that success is on the shoulders of Kristopher Turner’s portrayal of Steve, of course, but he handles the pressure well, delivering an awkwardly cheerful character that seems to have stepped out of the 1950s just to, you know, become infected as the saddest-sack zombie ever.
Overall, A Little Bit Zombie is a lot of fun for a zombie flick. It never takes itself too seriously, and when it goes straight for the laughs, it mostly hits. It’s a nice switch-up for the zombie genre to get a horror-comedy (they do exist, but not many and not necessarily all that good either) and in this case it’s not even a loved one coming back from the dead so much as it’s a living one finding himself afflicted with zombie issues. And there’s probably something a bit more insightful in there about marriage; loving someone forever in sickness and in health, the way marriage can change someone and the like, if you’re willing to give the film more of a think than just “ooh, he said ‘brains’ and drooled again!” Honestly, though, however you enjoy it is up to you, but it’d be hard not to have fun with this one.
Posted on August 9, 2012 in Reviews by Mark Bell
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