I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas breaks if you had one! I always like to binge on movies at this time of year. Here’s one!
Directed by Andrew Currie
It is the 1950’s. Post-Zombie War America is serviced by a new megacorporation called ZomCon. Radiation caused the dead to rise, but the Zombie Wars have been won. Zombies are domesticated, tamed, made into servants and pets. The do the tedious jobs, the ones that nobody wants to do. They do it without complaint and they are part of life in the subburbs. Children are taught from gradeschool how to kill a rogue zombie with a headshot. ZomCon controls the zombie popular with an iron fist, and electronic collars that render them harmless.
Since winning the Zombie Wars, humans must always be on guard; after all, everyone dies eventually. Therefore each death (natural or otherwise) keeps the world going with a steady supply of new zombies. ZomCon provides security, keeps the peace, and maintains order down to every facet of society, including education. Cities and towns are fenced off from the wild no-man’s land in between.
Within the town of Willard, an everyday small town in Anywhere, America, the neighborhoods are inhabited by fascinating characters, both human and zombie. Mr. Theopolis (Tim Blake Nelson) for example is an ex-ZomCon employee who now lives with Tammy, a young blonde fresh zombie who died of a brain aneurysm. A wealthier owner has six zombies, a symbol of decadence.
Little Timmy Robinson’s family are the only one on the street who don’t have a zombie housekeeper. Mr. Robinson claims they just can’t afford one, but the truth is he has a deep seated fear of zombies, going back to when he had to put a bullet in the brain of his own dead father. When the ZomCom head of security moves in across the street, Mrs. Robinson buys her own zombie (Billy Connolly) so to keep up appearances. Timmy quickly bonds with the zombie, whom he named Fido, after Fido saves him from the school bullies. Zombies, it seems, retain a modicum of their original personalities.
Without a control collar, a zombie will eat anybody nearby. When Fido’s collar malfunctions, he eats mean old lady Henderson! This sets off a cascade of events that forces Timmy to cover for his zombie friend. As the situation worsens, the death count rises…and with it the wild zombie population! Things get weirder when it becomes apparent that Mrs. Robinson (Carrie Ann Moss) and Fido have feelings for each other. Mr. Robinson sure doesn’t think much of Fido, nor does Mr. Bottoms, the ZomCom veteran. As events spiral to the blood-splattered but satisfying denouement, Fido and Timmy’s loyalty to each stands firm.
When my buddy Chris recommended Fido to me, I wasn’t all that interested. I’m on record as a Billy Connolly fan, but isn’t half of what makes him so hilarious that accent of his? His rich weathered voice and mannerisms are priceless. Yet somehow, Connolly pulled off a wonderful Billy-zombie hybrid. Connolly does some of the best grunt dialogue I’ve ever heard. His zombie-acting is spot on. Connolly allows Fido to emote, while remaining dead.
I really enjoyed the details of this alternate Bizarro-universe that is Fido‘s 1950’s America. Having won a war against zombies, Life magazine is now Death magazine. Funerals are expensive affairs to arrange, with ornate head coffins to ensure that you stay dead. Handguns can be weilded by 12 year olds (self defense), and marksmanship is taught to ZomCon cadets in school. The world of Fido was obviously well thought out, as it is rich and detailed. Visual and audio clues fill in the subtleties in this world. Best of all, the Canadian filmmakers managed to do so with a budget of $8M. Compare that to World War Z‘s $400M cost.
I recommend Fido to fans of clever zombie films, and to fans of Connolly who just want to see him do something completely different.