I, Zombie: A Chronicle of Pain (1998) 1 brain

Sometimes when a zombie movie tries something different it doesn't quite succeed, but I can still partially recommend it for the sake of novelty. This is not one of those movies. I, Zombie starts out promisingly enough. A young graduate student (Giles Aspen) who is having difficulties with his girlfriend because of his work goes on a field trip and gets attacked by a zombie. He quickly discovers that he's becoming a zombie himself, and he leaves his girlfriend with no explanation, finding a new apartment so he can live in isolation and deal with his new condition. So far, so good. But then, the filmmakers want to be sure we understand how sad and lonely this young man is. They show him sitting and staring off into space. Sadly. For long moments. On the bed. On the floor. At his desk. In the tub. Sitting. Staring. Once in a while, to liven things up, they show him convulsing (sadly) when his zombie appetite for human flesh begins to overwhelm his desire not to kill. After perfunctory scenes in which the young man finds victims, chloroforms them, and takes them back to the aparment for dinner, it's back to the staring, and whining into the tape recorder with which he's recording his transformation. Whenever something exciting seems to be happening, the young man wakes up, and we realize that it was just a dream. But even these imaginary sequences are rare and fleeting, and we're left with the bludgeoning of the young man's misery.

I can get what they were trying to do. In a way this movie is similar to Zombie Honeymoon, in that the filmmakers take a normal person and want to capture his reaction at becoming a zombie, and knowing that it's happening. His becoming a zombie is supposed to accentuate the details of the slow social and emotional death he's experiencing. We're supposed to be horrified at his isolation and sympathize with what he has to do to keep on "living." How horrible it would be to have to give up a full, normal life to sit by yourself every day and watch yourself slowly decay in the mirror. And yes, it would be horrible. But to watch someone else go through that, at least in this movie, is only horribly boring.

Another thing that bugged me about this movie was the lack of internal logic. If you want to make your movie symbolic, fine. But at least have the literal story make sense. For example, the young man moves into an area where most of the residents are old people, the logic being that they can't hear very well, and won't be paying much attention to what he's doing. I'm sorry, but if you're a retired senior citizen, sometimes the most interesting thing happening to you is what your neighbors are doing. And if you notice that your neighbor is bringing home people who appear to be unconscious, and then notice that they never leave, and then that the neighbor is burning clothes and burying wrapped head-shaped objects in his backyard, well, I think you might contact the authorities.

So, I didn't care for this movie. Not the worst I've seen, but definitely not something I'll watch again. If you're into excruciatingly detailed angst, this may be your thing, but if you're just a zombie nut, don't waste your time.