Zombie Kill!

[a.k.a. Zombibi]
Dir: Martijn Smits + Erwin van den Eshof
Star: Yahya Gaier, Gigi Ravelli, Mimoun Ouled Radi, Sergio Hasselbaink

This may be the first Dutch zombie film I've seen, but it owes a significant debt to Shaun of the Dead. Its hero works in a dead-end job, but when the zombie apocalypse strikes, his first thought is to rescue his girlfriend, taking along a witless companion and acquiring a motley crew of other associates along the way. This is a mixed blessing: while imitating the best zombie film in the past 25 years (and I'm entirely serious when I say that) provides a wealth of source material from which to draw, you are almost guaranteed to fall short. However, you can do so, and still come up with a perfectly acceptable end-product, as here. There's an ethnic slant, with hero Aziz (Gaier) and his dim brother, Mo (Radi), Moroccans, and the main sidekicks being Surinamese. I presume this has more resonance in the Netherlands. There's also a nice twist on the love triangle, with the girl of Aziz's dreams perhaps falling a little off the pedestal on which she has been placed.

If you're mostly left with an appreciation for, and a desire to watch, Shaun, the film does have some memorable moments of its own. In particular, the inevitable "friend gets bit and must be put out of his misery" scene is hilariously awful, as the target just won't die. Another amusing running gag, has a character discovering the downside of picking the heftiest weapon available: while it's fine for mowing down hordes of the undead, you then have to carry it with you... I'm sure, as noted, this probably contains significant dollops of local culture, e.g. there are cameos by a Dutch rapper and someone whom Google tells me is an MMA fighter, that sail over the head of those of us above sea-level. However, enough gets through to make for a solid enough experience, albeit one severely lacking in originality. They should have retitled is Shaun of the Dyke and been done with it.

[April 2015]

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