Thursday, October 25, 2012 Z is for Zombie: L is for Last of the Living

L is for Last of the Living
New Zealand, 2009

The Zombies: Romero Ghouls mostly, with some souped-up Snyder Sprinters near the end.

The Source: A virus, apparently.

The Result: An utter waste of time.

When she learned the in-flight movie was Last of the Living, Jane took the easy way out.

Three slackers with odious personalities are coasting through the post-apocalypse until a chance encounter with a female scientist - the only living woman around - sends them on a quest to find a cure for the zombie virus.

Spoilers ahoy, but trust me, I'm doing you a favor.

As the movie begins, it's cozy catastrophe time. The protagonists live a life of ease, enjoying a never-ending supply of gas, water and electricity and changing up luxury dwellings when they're bored.  The streets are clean with no sign of junked automobiles or rotting carcasses.  The boys can grab whatever they want from the local supermarkets with no fear of shortage or spoilage.  And zombies?  They're something to be killed for fun.

Now, there's a chance that this is all a commentary on Millennial males.  You know - manchildren still living at home, isolated from the trials of adulthood and sponging off the 'rents until they are forced to grow up through the influence of a mature, capable woman.  Except that statement would be completely undermined by the fact that the guys get killed following said woman on her ultimately futile quest.  So unless the intended moral is, "stay in your parents' basement where it's safe", I think we can safely dismiss any higher meaning here.  Especially after the fart jokes kick in.

Fricking fart jokes.

Anyhoo, the three asses follow Dr. Ladygirl through what is supposed to be hilarious hijinks and thrilling escapades.  Then, in the last act, the movie suddenly decides it wants to be serious and poignant and scary.  So the zombies, who up until now were literally punchlines, suddenly have to become a threat.  And because the movie is completely incapable of establishing dread or suspense, it takes the path of least resistance and just has the zombies start running.  At super-speed.  Yes, the formerly shambling goofballs can now keep pace with a speeding automobile and track a fleeing human across miles of brush in a heartbeat.  Whee.

I won't mention many of the movie's other failings, such as establishing characters that will only appear in a single disconnected scene and make-up effects that were apparently supervised by a boardwalk face-painter with a bad NyQuil habit.

After Bozo's Circus went off the air, Cooky the Clown joined the ministry.

Look, I know the film was shot on a miniscule budget.  But good ideas cost the same as bad ones.  Last of the Living isn't as funny or clever or exciting as it thinks it is, which makes its smug tone rather tough to endure.

1.5 Ghouls