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Mark Anderson Phillips,
I often wonder how far horror-crazed directors can and will go exploiting the concept of zombie comedies even further. The living dead haven't appeared in a genuinely scary movie since many years. The days of George A. Romero's original zombie trilogy are long over and nail-biting suspense has gradually turned into absurd comedy and grotesque splatter. The majority of zombie comedies are pretty lame, with some notably exceptions like "Shaun of the Dead" and "Fido", and practically none of them comes up with original ideas or creative new formulas. "Wasting Away", by debuting writer/director Matthew Kohnen, is one of the very first Indie flick that attempts something drastically inventive and brand new. The movie shows life from the perspectives of the zombies themselves. They assume they look and behave completely normal, but in fact they are disorientated and steadily rotting cadavers. This concept indeed sounds silly and even more implausible as regular zombie action, but it's undeniably innovative and particularly Kohnen's illustration of the world through zombie eyes is extremely ingenious. The initial black & white cinematography only turns into color when the four lead characters become infected with the zombie virus. From their viewpoints the normal and still uninfected people are hectic and incomprehensibly muttering beings. Four twenty-something friends with absolutely nothing better to do than hang around in a fast food restaurant become infected when they mix ice cream with a gooey green fluid from a barrel that lay at the entrance. The fluid obviously is a military experiment gone wrong and the foursome undergoes a vivid metamorphosis. As more and more people are getting infected, the zombies take peace with their new lifestyle and want to defend their rights. In spite of the original concept and a handful of effectively hilarious jokes and gimmicks, "Wasting Away" regretfully remains a low-budgeted and forgettable effort. The film is too long and for every neat sequence or clever piece of dialog there sadly is tedious and clichéd zombie movie footage. The lead players are mundane and annoyingly stereotypical horror caricatures, including the joker and the nerd kid, and the rest of characters aren't much better with the drunken bowlers and heavily mustached army colonel. Around the hour the whole thing just sort of gets retarded, with a man vs. zombie combat, talking heads and zombie bowling tournaments. There's quite a lot of carnage and bloodshed going on, but the emphasis merely lies on the comedy factor. Once again, the basic idea is nifty but clearly that wasn't enough. Nevertheless I'll be interested in seeing the future work of director Kohnen.
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