31 in 31 – “Blood Quantum”

“Who says we’re immune? Maybe the earth just forgot about us.”

Story: It’s 1981. In the Mi’gmaq reserve of Red Crow in Quebec, things are starting to turn strange. Fish are flopping around after they’ve been gutted. Dogs who’ve been put down rise up. And white people are dying and turning into zombies. The Mi’gmaq are immune to the virus, but not immune to being eaten alive… So six months later, their reserve is a fortress. But should they help uninfected white people survive?

Scares: Mostly sadness at how the world works during a pandemic, in-between hard hitting gross outs.

Splat factor: Yep. Zombies (or Zeds, as they’re called in this film.) Blood, guts, and body parts. All sorts of body parts. Did I mention blood and guts?

Closing scene “shocker”?: Nope.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Original, though you’ve seen fast zombies elsewhere, this apocalypse is new.

Trick or Treat?: Quantum is a film of contrasts. There’s Fargo-esque vibe with its slice of life feel. Then the zombies come, and that slice of life gets torn apart. The seemingly tranquil reserve has a simmering rage that’s built up for hundreds of years, and yet the majority of the Mi’gmaq are game to help whoever comes their way. These people are matter-of-fact about the outbreak; this is just another new thing, and they have to adapt as they’ve done over and over again in the past.

As the outbreak gets close and closer, some people get selfish, and small minded. And, as in real life, one man can destroy everything out of spite and pettiness. But you need to look at the larger picture of systemic racism towards the Native American people, and how that figures in. This isn’t just a “screw them, I’m in it for me” thing, it’s more a “screw them – they’ve kept us down for centuries” thing. And that makes for a compelling watch. Layers baby. This film has ’em.

Writer/director Jeff Barnaby delivers a kickass zombie movie that has real heart and soul. The connections between tribe members and individual families are messy and real. The zombies are gross, and things get really gory. And coming together may not be an option when all is said and done. I don’t know if this film’s message is too close to what’s going on now, or just the thing we all need to set out heads right.

And BTW, in real life? Let the Mi’gmaq harvest their lobsters, bigoted white people. JFC.

Score: 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins.

About Denise

Professional nerd. Lover of licorice.
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