Last of the Living (2008) 1 brain1 brain1 brain
(New Zealand)

I was going to start with a snide comment about how this movie probably seemed better because I had watched it after mistakenly watching part of the much-lacking Zombie Night, but Last of the Living stands firmly on its own two feet. Given the sample of movies that I've seen from New Zealand so far (this one and Peter Jackson's Braindead), I'd say that making zombie films must be a skill that Kiwis are born with.

The movie starts with an interesting twist. Usually in the world of a zombie apocalypse, the survivors are holed up somewhere in a grim struggle for survival, where if they let down their guard for an instant, bad things happen. In Last of the Living, three friends spend their days relaxing in mansions, playing guitar and watching videos. The zombies don't bother them because they don't make themselves obvious, so the only time they're in danger is when they run out of chips and beer and have to go get more. How is the power still on? Well, that's not really explained. Don't the zombies see their lights at night? Well, that's not really explained either. But the situation is portrayed amusingly enough that it really didn't matter to me.

The friends are Morgan (Morgan Williams), a narcissistic actor in his old life, Ash (Ashleigh Southam), an awkward accountant, and Johnny (Robert Faith), a drummer in a rock and roll band who is trying to perfect his whirling "beserker" technique for use in combat. For a change of scenery they decide to find a new place to squat, and along the way they run into Stef (Emily Paddon-Brown), a scientist who's got a possible cure to the zombie plague, if she can just get it to the right place. The mere fact that she's a living female stirs things up among them, but the fact that she's also trying to save the world introduces even more drastic changes in their lives.

The movie is really well-written (Logan McMillan, also director) and acted, and it's fun to see a low-budget movie not following the same grim plotline that most of them do. The effects are also really well done. Overall this was a pleasant surprise, so zombie fans should definitely check it out. If you don't like it, well, maybe you should have watched Zombie Night first.