Reviews
Handsome Zombies (2009) 1 brain1 brainhalf brain
(USA)

This online zombie serial directed by Lucas Cantor and Jeffrey Whitted is a fun take on the genre and a very pointed statement about superficiality, and the lack of personal depth that often accompanies it. The zombies in this case are caused by a Haitian spore that infects hosts and transforms their bodies, making them stupider and more attractive, along with giving them a craving for human flesh. I like this twist, because there actually are spores out there that can infect and take over their host's nervous system, and make it do things. I saw a nature documentary in which a spore infected an ant, making it climb a tree, lock onto a branch, and then die, giving the spore the perfect place to grow out of the ant's head. Creepy stuff.

The hero of the movie, Zack Griffiths (played by Zack Griffiths), is running the grill at a friend's VBQ (vegetarian barbeque) when he meets Monique (Stephanie Vella), who shares a birthday with him and also the discomfort of being at a social gathering without fitting in. A group of nearby workmen accidentally release the Haitian spores and also find a curious ring. The spores infect the workmen, and then the partygoers, and the epidemic begins. The ring plays a key role that I won't divulge here.

The movie skips around a bit, timewise, which was a little confusing, and there are some scenes that I didn't really get, but overall I enjoyed this movie. Much of it is done tongue-in-cheek, but there was thought put into the story nevertheless, keeping the movie from being just a series of gags. The soundtrack is also entertaining, with songs like "Fuck Off Hipster Zombies." The movie combines a couple of classic elements of the zombie mythos, flesh-eating and voodoo magic, but the addition of the spore infection is a nice new element that makes it all fresh.

If there's anything I would really quibble about with the message of the movie, it's the equating of attractiveness with superficiality. Not all attractive people are superficial, and not all ugly people have depth. But certainly obsession with personal appearance, both your own and others', can be unhealthy, which is what I think the movie is trying to say. The movie isn't preachy, though, it's just having fun, so don't worry about getting beat over the head with it.