Shanghai Film Review: ‘We Are Little Zombies’

  • Variety
Shanghai Film Review: ‘We Are Little Zombies’
No pulsating, psychedelic, pop-punk phantasmagoria ought to be as moving and smart as “We Are Little Zombies.” But Makoto Nagahisa’s explosively ingenious and energetic debut (imagine it as the spiritual offspring of Richard Lester and a Harajuku Girl) holds the high score for visual and narrative invention, as well as boasting a [insert gigantic-beating-heart Gif] and braaaains, too. The gonzo adventures of four poker-faced Japanese 13-year-olds who bond over their mutual lack of emotion following sudden orphanhood, it reimagines the old “stages of grief” thing as a progression through 13 erratic levels of a video game, complete with mini-games and side quests. And if its manic, 8-bit aesthetic seems hyperactively inappropriate for such a somber scenario — like it does grief wrong — that too, can be interpreted as a generous insight into the mourning process: Who among us, upon being bereaved, has ever believed they’re doing grief right?

Certainly, little Hikari (Keita Ninomiya) does not.
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