Zombies. I’m a tad bored of them; indeed I’ve felt this way for a fair while now. Zombie walks, zombie this, zombie that—is there really anything more to say about this creature?
Yes. Yes, there is. Nobody ever really stopped to think about life from the point of view of the zombie. Nobody ever cared. Until now! And, what a comedy treat this is as a result; dare I even say it, an original treat.
Kicking off with familiar ground, we’re privy to a top-secret film of a military experiment gone horribly wrong. A fluorescent green serum developed for the purpose of creating a breed of super soldier hasn’t quite worked out, rather, turning its recipient into a zombie. As expected, the scientist attempts to cover this up by disposal into barrels labelled as baby formula. One rolls off the truck in despatch, ending up outside a bowling alley, where it’s assumed to be beer and wired up (or whatever the equivalent is with beer kegs) accordingly.
Thus far, the film is in black-and-white, other than the aforementioned serum. This serum isn’t going to just sit around being pretty, and, a group of friends inside this alley ingest it. Cue their rapid expiration and resurrection to seemingly full health, in a full-colour world. Pay attention, friends. This colour-switching shenanigans is the concept that makes this film original (please do correct me if I’m wrong on that; I’d love to know). Aware they have just been a little ill, it’s sensibly decided they call a hospital. The cute blonde, Cindy, does so, only to have a squeaky garbled noise assault her eardrums. Irked, she rips the phone off the wall, to then be stunned at her display of super strength. Something’s not right… best to venture out for help, then. Confused when strangely squeaky people run from them at ridiculously high speed, the film’s concept chooses now to reveal itself: a revert to black-and-white, our friends are lumbering, groaning zombies, and everyone else is now running at normal speed. Back to colour again, for the perspective of the zombies, who don’t know they’re said zombies. Pretty neat, huh?
Enter Nick Steele. A self-professed super soldier, he informs the group that the entire city has been infected by a virus—except he’s a zombie, too. Here’s your schtick for the majority of the remaining run-time, our undead pals lurching along, not really knowing what to do, yet it’s only really towards the end this begins to wear thin. At some point, the zombies must realise their predicament. When they do, the film runs out of options, introducing the military aspect it must, to supply a tired, predictable climax. Still, if a film is to run out of steam, doing so very close to the end is an acceptable place.
In another filmmaker’s hands, Wasting Away (aka Aaah! Zombies!!) would merely have held potential, but a clever, funny script with excellent rapport between strong characters, and a little subplot here, a little subplot there, keeps it going. Add the odd little genius touch like the fact that only very drunk humans can understand them, and this low-budget indie really is a star turn. Director Matthew Kohnen is clearly one to watch.
Wasting Away is available on DVD and Blu-ray now