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A boy declares his love for his girlfriend, only to die the same night. He is brought back to life by his mother as a flesh-craving zombie, who sires more teen undead while trying to control his, er, appetite for his beloved.
When asked if there are flesh-eating zombies out there, Joel--an undead political activist--quickly retorts: "are there flesh-eating humans?" Grace Lee not only directs American Zombie, but plays herself in the film. She teams up with John Solomon--also playing himself--to film a documentary project about an undead community living in L.A. The duo quickly find out that some sort of virus, brought on by a violent death, is plaguing its residents, and ultimately zombifying an entire community.
American Zombie is a veritable slice-of-life of four "revenants"--Joel, founder of Z.A.G.: the Zombie Advocacy Group; Judy, who naively searches for true love and denies her zombiness; Ivan, a convenience store clerk who aspires to be a writer; and Lisa, a florist specializing in funeral arrangements for other people--who secretly longs for her own. Each character represents an average person with average emotions and average problems, showing us that the undead aren't too different than the living. Well, except for their rotting flesh, of course.
What's really great about the film is the absolute mockery the protagonists make of themselves. Grace, the ever-so-astute naturalistic documentarian, and John, the bumbling investigative reporter, are at odds with each other throughout the film, and ultimately to a fault. What makes this film not-so-great is twofold: the running time and the conclusion. I think the film would have been better as a short. While it's in-depth look at each character is interesting, I'm not sure if its compelling enough to steer the audience towards anything meaningful. And even worse is the ending, after which, the audience can no longer sympathize with the plight of the community. Unfortunately, what could have been a provocative social commentary, becomes nothing more than a sensationalistic--albeit unique, comedic and funfilled--mockumentary.
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