The Art of Darkness


February 20th, 2008 by Cobwebs

FidoLast night Shadow Jack brought home a film that simply must be shared. I don’t recall ever seeing a trailer for this when it was in theaters, but it stars some reasonably well-known actors (Carrie-Anne Moss and Billy Connolly), so it’s not a complete indie effort.

This is a touching boy-and-his dog story, with the dog being replaced by a zombie. Fido takes place in a picture-perfect 1950s milieu, where everyone is living in the aftermath of a zombie invasion: “Space dust” reanimated the dead several years ago, and there’s enough residual dust hanging around that anyone who dies and isn’t given a decapitation-funeral is guaranteed to come back as the living dead. Fortunately, technology has been perfected which allows them to be tamed and used as domestic labor. The Robinson family finally gets a zombie of their own, he sort of accidentally eats one of the neighbors, and hijinks ensue.

I suspect that this draws some inspiration from the ending of Shaun of the Dead (where the leftover dead are gainfully employed as menials), but if you set aside the obvious implausibility of the central theme the story actually has a certain internal consistency. Thirty years after all the dead were reanimated, everybody would have gotten used to them. If it were possible to tame them, they would be used for manual labor. And P.E. classes would include lessons in shooting zombies right in the head, just in case they got uppity.

The juxtaposition of the sunny and optimistic Hollywood-50s world with shambling zombies is hilarious, and there’s even a happy ending. (Depending upon your definition of “happy,” of course.) It’s rated R, but it could easily have had a PG-13 rating; the gore is minimal and campy, there’s all the nudity you’d expect in a reality where married couples sleep in twin beds, and I don’t think there’s even any harsh language. It’s sweet and funny and involves zombies.

I give it two severed thumbs up.

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