ZMD: ZOMBIES OF MASS DESTRUCTION – The Dungeon Review!
I have been to dozens of films at the Vancouver International Film Festival over the years, and this is the first time that I’ve had the good fortune of being present when the director has conducted a Q&A. Kevin Hamedani along with two of the films stars answered questions about the film. Hamedani is a fan of Romero, but then who among us zombie fans isn’t. It’s a bit tough talking about the Q&A without giving away some of the film. Hamedani stated, had it been completely up to him, he would have made the film bleaker. It does have its serious moments of intensity, with a couple of good old fashion scares. It absolutely has something to say about the attitudes towards homosexuality and racism. But ZMD never feels heavy handed, delivering numerous laugh out loud scenes both with, and without gore. This is one of the smartest written independent horror films, zombie-themed or otherwise, that I have seen in a while.
ZMD has one kick ass pre-credit opening scene that had me completely psyched for the rest of the film. It boasts some impressive effects, particularly for a film with a slim budget. I don’t want to give away any of the juicy, gory scenes, but I will tell you that there are some glorious moments involving skin ripping, shooting, stabbing and even one shocking and hilarious hit and run.
Instead of the regular cookie cutter characters you see in most horror films, ZMD features a diverse group of individuals that are actually interesting. The local restaurant is run by an Iranian man, who’s American born daughter Frida has returned home from Princeton. Frida is conflicted with her role in the world, not only because of her father, who begs her to embrace her Iranian heritage, but also an air headed boyfriend who keeps calling her an Iraqi. In a hilarious conversation between Frida and her boyfriend, the phrases “There is NORWAY, you are getting in these panties” and “KUWAIT a second” are uttered. Oh yes, he goes there. Then there is the gay couple; Tom and Lance, who have come to Port Gamble so that Tom can finally “come out” to his mother. The two deliver some of the film’s best lines. There is a mayor with serious old fashion attitudes, who’s closest acquaintance is the local preacher who delivers fire and brimstone sermons. In direct contrast to the mayor is the liberal-minded female high school teacher who is running against him in the upcoming election. Finally there is the proudly right-wing father with an alcoholic wife, and an awkward drama student son. There are more than a few small-minded people in the town of Port Gamble. Many of the locals are suspicious of foreigners and fear homosexuals. Even the local news suggests terrorists for the cause of the zombie outbreak.
So needless to say, there is a shitload of material to work with. The gay couple, played by Doug Fahl and Cooper Hopkins are outstanding and shine in every scene they are in. Janette Armand is also excellent as Frida. Ali Hamedani who plays Frida’s father is perfect in his role, and is actually the father of the director. Russell Hodgkinson is delightfully amusing, and unlikable as the right-wing dad. Some of the acting from the more minor characters is iffy, but it doesn’t hurt the overall feel of the film. ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction is well-paced, high energy, gory, clever, and funny. It entertained me from beginning to end. Recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Kevin Hamedani
Starring: Janette Armand, Doug Fahl, Cooper Hopkins, Bill Johns, Russell Hodgkinson, Ali Hamedani, Cornelia Moore, James Mesher, Andrew Hyde, Ryan Barret