The definitive zombie culture documentary, brought to the screen by the makers of THE PEOPLE vs. GEORGE LUCAS.The definitive zombie culture documentary, brought to the screen by the makers of THE PEOPLE vs. GEORGE LUCAS.The definitive zombie culture documentary, brought to the screen by the makers of THE PEOPLE vs. GEORGE LUCAS.
The impact that the zombie sub-genre has had on the world at large is interesting, don't get me wrong. But I don't think it should have been the focus of the documentary here, especially when the filmmaking-related stuff that's discussed throughout the first third or so is as interesting as it was. And based on the director's other film-related documentaries, film analysis is clearly a strength of his, and the thing he should've doubled down on here too, in my opinion. Is it worth mentioning crazy things like zombie walks, and maybe briefly mentioning the people who perhaps take it too seriously? Sure. But spending time on interviewing a sex therapist about people's strange attraction to zombies, as well probable nut-job survivalists, who think a zombie outbreak is inevitable? Not so much, especially if you're not going to focus on them- the film does this awkward thing where it tackles less interesting subjects and does much more than simply mention them, but doesn't do enough to fully explore them and make them interesting.
Come for the first 20-30 minutes, tolerate the next 20, and be prepared to have your patience tested in points throughout the last 30 or so minutes. There's too much good stuff here to ignore this documentary outright: information and opinions about the Romero trilogy, its influence, the way zombie films have adapted to reflect certain fears and pressing societal issues, as well as giving Shaun of the Dead a great deal of credit for being a legitimate and classic zombie film (Romero giving his approval for it being the best zombie film he didn't make was a highlight, as I've always maintained that both his "Dawn" and Edgar Wright's "Shaun" are the two greatest zombie films of all time) is all great. And the broader cultural stuff is moderately interesting, but again, ultimately not as engaging. It either needed more focus to establish a good reason for me to be interested, or less focus in order to make room for the stuff that definitely was interesting.
Also somewhat unfortunate is the way that zombies have somewhat died off in the last five or so years. It makes many of the interviewees' claims regarding the craze continuing into the future unintentionally funny. Nowadays, there seems to be a definite fatigue that's set in regarding The Walking Dead (I personally know many people who enjoyed it thoroughly but gave up around season 6 or 7), and World War Z is propped up as an example of zombie movies getting huge budgets and going mainstream... yet since then, it's had neither a sequel, nor has it inspired anything of a comparable scope. Not marking the documentary down as a result of this; it's just worth mentioning as something that's slightly amusing.
If you love zombie movies, you might get a few new tidbits of information out of the documentary's more entertaining sections. If you haven't watched many zombie movies and want a breakdown of what all the fuss is (or was) about, I could definitely recommend the first half or so of what's already a relatively short documentary. Otherwise, this is far from essential viewing, albeit not a terrible experience if you do decide to give it a shot.
- Jan 27, 2020