ZA: Zombies Anonymous DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Well Go Usa
Nobody's dying. In the last five days we have carted off not one body. – Some doctor.
Written and directed by Marc Fratto
2006, Region 1, 104 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on May 6th, 2008
Gina Ramsden as Angela
Joshua Nelson as Josh
A couple years ago, just when it seemed the Zombie genre had become stale, Livelihood arrived at my door and showed me something fresh — zombies as a part of society, doing menial jobs. Since then, I've seen others do the same, like Fido, American Zombie and now ZA: Zombies Anoynmous.
Like American Zombie and Livelihood, ZA has a racism subtext. Zombies are treated as second class citizens, relegated to the most basic of jobs (if hired at all), and want nothing more than to be part of the society in which they once lived. But ZA takes a much darker tone than American Zombie and Livelihood.
ZA starts off rather brutal. Angela (Gina Ramsden) has locked herself in a bathroom to avoid the wrath of her angry boyfriend, Josh (Joshua Nelson), but after busting down the door, Josh shoots and kills Angela in a fit of rage. The paramedics come and determine that she is no longer a member of the live club, so they go on their way leaving Angela to her own devices. Dead is dead, and there is nothing they can do for her, even if she is begging them to help her.
The film then moves to three months later, where Angela barely holding onto her job and going to a support group for the living impaired. Josh, on the other hand, is working his way into the ranks of a zombie hate group, whose entire goal is to rid the world of the walking dead. You just know Josh and Angela are going to cross paths again.
ZA comes pretty close to being a damn decent movie. It has some good gore, a very solid lead in Gina Ramsden, Joshua Nelson has his moments and there are some nicely done scenes. But its script is, at times, god awful. The word "fuck" is used so often, I have to wonder if much of it was ad-libbed. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of "fuck", it's part of my regular vocabulary, but when used without moderation, a script suffers big time.
What also hurts ZA is the editing. It moves at a pretty good clip, but there are some WTF!? moments sprinkled throughout, in particular the ending. Without giving anything away, a character seemingly comes out of nowhere for no reason other than to set up The Longest Fight Scene Ever. This character would have been a cool addition to the movie if there were hints scattered throughout the film, but she seems to be an afterthought, and a forced one at that.
I will say this, though: Writer/director Marc Fratto has promise. Even with its problems, there are plenty of enjoyable moments in ZA. He definitely has an eye for gore, and I did feel sympathetic for Angela and rooted for her throughout the movie (which is credit to both Fratto and Ramsden's acting). It says something when you find yourself caring for even one character.
ZA: Zombies Anonymous is far from a perfect movie, but it just may be worth a rental to see some budding talent.
Video and Audio:
The widescreen presentation is stereotypical low-budget: a little soft, looking better in brighter shots. I am looking forward to the technology catching up with the filmmakers, and low-budget will stop looking like low-budget.
The 5.1 audio is very tinny at times, peaking out on occasion. It's in desperate need of a bass boost.
Dolby digital 2.0 is also offered.
Some deleted scenes. That's it. It's disappointing there isn't at least a commentary offered.
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