Dutch zombie horror Kill Zombie (original title Zombibi) tackles the horror genre with a ballsy understanding of its fan base and a quick sense of humor. Unfortunately Martijn
Smits and Erwin Van Der Eshof’s action comedy is up against stiff opposition; Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Juan of the Dead (2011), two zombie features which handle the apocalypse in a similar bro-mantic black comedy style, still the film does well at holding its own.
Cutting straight to the action, Kill Zombie proves it’s for die hard zombie fans, no real exploration of the apocalypse and not too much focus on the concept of Armageddon as social issue, Kill Zombie rolls up its sleeves and dives headfirst into gory-glory with a good sense of direction and audience. The film follows two brothers who after spending a night in jail, awake to find their city ravaged by zombie invasion. Joining forces with a police officer and two crazy criminals the group set off on a reluctant rescue mission through the deadly gore-splashed streets of Amsterdam.
Kill Zombie has some fantastic set-pieces showing off a creative flair that lacks in many run-of-the-mill zombie features: a mini-gun sequence that’s grotesquely satisfying and a play park defense sequence, to name a couple. The more striking action sequences seem connected by typical zombie stock, but it’s incredibly tricky for a zombie film to maintain originality when so much has gone before. Even Romero seems to have lost some innovation. A key strength of the film is its comic timing and the skill with which its cast carry off the genuinely funny scenes. Kill Zombie is a prime example of what a good cast can do for a smaller production.
Though it looks good and has plenty of fun, Kill Zombie still lacks the heart of Juan or Shaun, heart that helped push those movies up past your bog-standard zombie massacre. Even though there’s a welcome and sometime innovative aspect to the design of the film, some things just don’t gel. The use of Tekken-style fighting sequences is a marmite decision that threatens the integrity of the film, seeming just a little too unrealized and amateur.
Kill Zombie is for genre fans specifically, its lack of plot around the main characters stops it hitting the emotional impact of other mainstream cult black comedies but it does a good job of entertaining and showing off some really cool zombie action sequences. Its also one of few horror comedies that actually gets its comedy fairly spot-on.
Director: Martijn Smits and Erwin Van Der Eshof
Stars: Yahya Gaier, Mimoun Ouled Radi, Gigi Ravelli, Sergio Hasselbaink