Who wants to read a review that’s longer than the film? Nobody, that’s who. So here’s my take on a short film that will get you primed to see it, or prepped to pass on it. Herewith, Already Dead!
“We’re good, honest people. We’re just dead.”
Mockumentaries can be fun, or a sad attempt. Luckily, Already Dead falls firmly in the first category. A tongue-in-cheek riff on rare/severe illness documentaries, Dead has the solid production values of a real doc, but with zombies. Tell me that doesn’t make things better.
How can this “documentary” exist? Easy; in the world of Dead, the medication “Zombenzine” helps zombies fight their cravings (some completely, others…not so much.) Director Michael J. Dean manages to create a horror comedy with depth and relevancy in the span of fifteen minutes. Nice trick, that.
In Already Dead, they “interview”:
* George, who was bitten during “one of the first waves”
* Dr. Lucille Bomar, lead scientist/researcher of Zombenzine
* Marcus, living guy & zombie bigot
* Lynn, who was bitten 6 months ago, and her living fiancé David
* Jeff, George’s undead BFF
* Freddie, George’s still-living son
Dead also touches on the difficulties of health insurance coverage, and while this film discusses the NHS (England’s National Health Service), those digs are just as relevant here in the States. Y’see, Zombenzine isn’t covered by insurance, echoing the real-life costs of necessary medications. There are also riffs on prejudice, fear of “others”, and an overall message of tolerance in-between all the rotting and shuffling.
But what about the real zombie stuff, you ask? Oh, it’s here. Sure, it’s off to the side; this film is about getting to know the zombies, and how their life, like ours, definitely isn’t perfect. And when their life goes off the rails? Yeah, you get to see it. It’s brief – heck, the film itself is fun-sized – but there’s just enough gore to make my fellow horror hounds smile. The zombie FX isn’t too bad here, though some (George, Jeff) are better than others (sorry, Lynn.)
If you can get your eyeparts onto a showing of Almost Dead, go for it. While it’s currently hitting the festival scene, I’m hoping this short gets a general distribution gig, be it Shudder, Hulu, Epix or any other widely known streaming service. Why? Because with its balance of dark humor, social commentary and spooky, Dead is a perfect appetizer for your next zombie movie marathon. Bon appetit.