Thursday, 19 September 2013

Kill Zombie! (Zombibi) - review

2012 (Netherlands)

Contains mild spoilers.

This one, it turns out, is an amateur zom-rom-com Dutch production set in its own capital. It's an unabashed unassuming little Shaun of the Dead wannabe that never strays too far from what's expected and doesn't really do anything wrong. All in all it's quite light, fun, the characters are likeable and quirky, the whole thing is very well presented and there's the odd memorable over the top bit of action or gore. The thing is, with zombies the current zeitgeist and a market flooded, not bad, quite pleasurable, nothing wrong, isn't really enough any more. I mean, unless your a true zombie nut, like yours truly, willing to watch absolutely everything out there you're only really going to pick the genre darlings and this unfortunately isn't going to one of them, despite, as I say, actually being quite good.

Aziz (Yahya Gaier) is Shaun from Shaun of the Dead, a shirt and tie wearing miserable disenchanted 9 to 5er. The only thing keeping him going is his dream of romancing co-worker Tess (Nadia Poeschmann) but on the eve of his first date a series of unfortunate events looks to have scuppered his chances. First he's fired, partly because his free and easy bum of a brother Mo (Mimoun Ouled Radi) can't stop phoning him but mostly because he has a jealous petty-Hitler of a boss. Second, he and his brother are arrested and thrown in a cell for the night after getting into a spat with a pair of Surinamese goons at a barbecue / pool party. And third, and this one's the most significant, a Russian Space station / satellite has crashed to earth covered in toxic green moss and turned the whole population of West Amsterdam into dangerous flesh eating zombies; oh, and Tess is still stranded at the office, which also happens to be ground zero.

Directors Martijn Smits and Erwin van den Eshof know how to paint quite the apocalyptic vision. Azis, Mo and their now Surinamese survival companions, Jeffrey (Sergio Hasselbaink) and Nolan (Uriah Arnhem) emerge from the cells into a picture-perfect (if that's the right phrase) ruined cityscape complete with building fires, abandoned cars and putrid green pustule covered alien-zombies. Everything looks great, the CG doesn't actually look that fake and the zombies are authentic appearing and quite gnarly. After a quick altercation with a wheel-chaired old lady zombie, emphasising at once the danger they're in and that we shouldn't be taking this all too seriously, the gang are ushered back into the police station and we're introduced to Kim (Gigi Ravelli) the films glamorous, kick-ass leading police lady.

As stated, there's nothing wrong with the film. Action and comedy guides the narrative and the group stumble from one location and goofy fight to the next all the while pitching Aziz's desire to rescue the damsel in distress with Mo, and the rest of the group who want to get the hell out of dodge. The various set pieces are well put together, stylish and playful with Smits and Eshof not afraid to go all Dead Rising with the extensive use of wacky and humour-some zombie dispatching weaponry and methods, and interspersing it all on occasion with zany comic-book / video game sequences straight out of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

The word alien isn't actually mentioned, and it could well be some Russian biological experiment gone wrong, but the green goo spewing zombies are sure made up to look not of this world. It still suffers a little from the 'if touching the green goo turned the first into zombies, why are these particular survivors apparently immune', syndrome but as is the case with the not so serious zombie films, total coherence isn't necessarily the number one priority. The infection, or what ever it is, is transferred through the standard zombie bite with the victim deteriorating rapidly, zombiefying, dying then reanimating with a hunger for flesh, either alive or dead. There's also the hint everyone's infected anyway and the bite merely hastens death and the inevitable turn. Behaviour wise they're your usual slow shufflers, though as is the way the odd faster gnarly zombie appears sporadically to spice up the action, and even a completely out of place comedy zombie makes an appearance here and there though they kind of feel a little awkward and overly contrived.

All in all, Kill Zombie! is a quirky little Dutch zombie film. It's quite fun, quite coherent, quite well written and quite well acted and quite well paced. The zombies are well made up, the sets are lavish and expansive and there's more than one great, gratuitous memorable scene. The comedy compliments the action well despite the fact I never felt it was quite as funny as it thought it did and the cast do a good job with either their dry straight-man or slapstick roles. It's fine, honestly; a nice evenings viewing and it definitely scratched that apocalyptic zombie itch but, and here's the crutch. It does everything adequately, nothing more, coming across a tad stale, a tad going though the motions and derivative, like a poor mans Juan of the Dead or a trite Dutch multicultural Shaun of the Dead, both of which are fresher, more original and more authentic. Kill Zombie! is good, don't get me wrong, it's just good isn't good enough in a subgenre packed with truly great, 5/10.



  1. Never even heard of this one... doesn't sound all that memorable... but then again, I'm a completist, so I feel like i NEED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I'd be amazed it's not on netflix, it's perfect netflix fodder.