In past years when I was at the Asbury Park Zombie Walk, I would joke with my friends about how this would be the absolute worst spot for a real zombie apocalypse to start. Everyone already looks the part, many people are already a bit stumbly for various reasons, and we're all crowded together in a single place. If one real zombie popped up, they'd probably be complimented on their authenticity. If one person was bitten, we'd probably assume it was some crazy performance piece. Once a panic started, it would still likely be dismissed as some people pulling a prank, even as others started sprinting past. THIS IS HOW IT STARTS. Similarly, "I Survived A Zombie Holocaust" surrounds a zombie outbreak that begins on the set of a zombie movie.

Wesley is a recently-graduated film student with big dreams. He's got his screenplay, his passion project, that he wants to pitch to a real director. He ends up as a runner on the set of a campy b-movie about zombies. Runners are the grunts, the lowest of the low, and his sweater vest, comb-over, and wiener voice win him no favors with the cast and crew. The demanding, stressed-out, incredibly vulgar director is watching his movie fall apart due to a primadonna leading lady, a lunkheaded star actor, a crazed method acting costar, and an unfinished script. The tensions are running high everywhere, to the point where it seems people might start getting killed, regardless of their undead status.

A sickness in the nearby town (something in the water) turns people to zombies, and they're obviously attracted to the noise and lights and delicious flesh of the film set. Wesley and a few others (including his unrequited love, the head of craft services) manage to escape the initial attack, and develop a plan of action. In the end, only a couple survive and live to tell the tale (I don't consider this a spoiler, because the title of the movie is "I Survived", so don't complain).

In a similar vein to "Shaun of the Dead", this is a great blend of zombie horror and dark comedy. Most of the jokes are solid (not quite as funny as Shaun) and the gore level is pretty intense. Lots of blood, lots of bites, a nasty amputation/cauterization, and one scene is so graphic it may have left a permanent scar on the primal part of my psyche. I also don't want to sound like a total snob, but the fact that they used a lot of practical effects was also a big bonus.

I'm not sure if the zombie craze has reached a saturation level just yet, or if more varied takes like this or Dead Snow or Pontypool will keep bringing freshness to the genre. For now, I'm still entertained by them, and I'll keep watching them.

On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "I Survived A Zombie Holocaust" gets a 7 out of 10.




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