One from the re watch pile…
Film: After Shaun of the Dead came out, it seemed every man and his dog wanted to make a zombie comedy, some of which worked, some of which didn’t. This film, Fido, written by Robert Chomiak, Andrew Currie and Dennis Heaton, and directed by Currie, is one of the lesser celebrated ones, which is unfortunate as it does at least deserve one viewing, though personally, it’s not a huge rewatcher.
In what appears to be an alternate 1950’s America, we are told via an educational (read that as propaganda) film that a radioactive dust fell to earth from space, and caused the dead to rise and try to eat human flesh. Then the zombies wars came, and mankind survived, and through the research of Zomcom, a company who then walled the cities to protect the citizens, a way to domesticate the undead was discovered and they became servants of mankind, taking care of menial tasks.
We are introduced to our hero Timmy (Kesun Loder), a young man who is the subject of bullying at school and doesn’t have any real friends. His parents, Helen (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Bill (Dylan Baker) have a strained relationship, mainly due to his lack of familial care, which is made even worse when Helen brings home a domesticated zombie, whom Timmy names Fido (Billy Connelly).
Timmy and Fido become great friends, but when Fido’s collar malfunctions and he kills a member of the neighbourhood, Timmy covers up the murder, but not before she kills another and causes a small uprising.
All through this though, Timmy questions various aspects of why zombies are what they are, both from a scientific and theological aspect… can the Living and the Dead co-exist?
Thematically there is a lot going on in this film. It takes a wry look at subjects like freedom vs security, at corporations controlling our lives when the government fails, oppression of minorities… all sorts of stuff.
From a cinematic point of view, there are some real clever elements here. The world of humanity is bright and vibrant and most of the zombies are discoloured so they appear to be in black and white, except for one zombie, Tammy, who’s owner is attempting to make her a surrogate wife. She is a microcosm of the entire film: there is a polished veneer over a society that is rotten to the core.
It’s a well cast film too; Loder plays the 50s styled kid perfectly and isn’t annoying at all. Baker is the perfect uptight Dad with a few mental problems. Moss is delightful as the keeping up appearances mother, and Henry Czerny is great as the ‘company man’ who wants to contain and clamp down any situation. Connelly somehow plays Fido quite understated, and manages to convey what’s left of his humanity quite well.
Essentially what we have here is a funny parody of things like Lassie and Rin Tin Tin, but with zombies instead of dogs as the trusty, non-English speaking hero.
Format: The reviewed copy of this film is an ex-rental Australian DVD which runs for approximately 89 minutes and presented in a below average 2.35:1 image with an excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.
Extras: Not a wholly bad bunch of extras on this disc:
In the audio section we have a choice to listen to a commentary by director Currie, producer Mary Anne Waterhouse, and actress Moss. It’s a great technical commentary and talks about the entire aspect of script and film. A great film-student commentary.
Fido Family Portraits has conceptual art, make up and stills from the film presented as a slideshow with some accompanying music. I don’t normally go for stills galleries, but this is presented nicely.
There is some DVD-Rom ‘Zombie Me’ creator thing which has not been reviewed. I imagine it is the pre-iPhone app version of
Making of Fido is a short summary of what the film is thematically about.
Blooper reel is short and sweet it just shows a bunch of people not doing their jobs properly. Only kidding. I thought it would be a lot funnier considering, you know, Billy Connelly, but no.
There is a commentary with the score composer Don MacDonald which if, like me, you’re interested in score and cinema music is quite fascinating.
There a six deleted scenes with directors commentary which are interesting, but better off omitted.
In addition, there is a theatrical trailer.
WISIA: It’s a cute, light-hearted, with occasional dark elements, zombie comedy but I doubt if I will revisit it.