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Monday, March 12, 2018

ZBURBS -- DVD Review by Porfle

It may seem at first like it's going to be just another zombie comedy, but ZBURBS (2017) is a pleasantly different little batch of bloody goodies for fans of undead cinema to snack on.

There's no full-scale zombie invasion this time--in fact, most of the action takes place in the livingroom of Shelly and Bill's house after Bill takes care of a zombie burglar in the middle of the night and gets bitten for his trouble.

In no time, he's acting funny, as in scarfing down raw meat, eating the dead guy, and craving that most dearly-cherished undead delicacy, brains.

This is all new and unsettling for Bill's loving wife Shelly, who tries to take it all in stride while her volatile ex-Marine friend Carrie (Courtney Scheuerman) suggests more extreme solutions.  That is, until Carrie herself gets bitten (Bill was feeling a bit peckish) and goes all living-dead-with-an-attitude.

The fun gets even funner with the introduction of Shelly's conspiracy-theorist brother Charlie (Gabe Greenspan), whose nutty ideas suddenly don't seem so nutty anymore, and various mysterious government agents (including Bill Oberst Jr. of NUDE NUNS WITH BIG GUNS and EXCISION) with very sinister designs on our living-dead protagonists who, it turns out, are the result of scientists venturing where they shouldn't have.

That's pretty much the set-up, and what writer-director Greg Zekowski (BLOODLINE: THE DEVIL'S GAME) does with it is to deliver a brisk, fast-paced comedy that, while not exactly hilarious, is consistently amusing and full of cartoonish action and all sorts of narrative curveballs.

Best of all is simply watching Shelly (Marieh Delfino, DON'T COME KNOCKING, JEEPERS CREEPERS II) trying to maintain a semblance of marital bliss as her life turns into a horror movie around her while Bill (Ian Alda) and Carrie evolve into full-bore flesheaters gnashing their way through all the meat within grabbing distance.

This includes not only expensive trips to the butcher shop, but also a big pizza delivery order that includes the delivery girl herself as dessert.  The inevitable invasion by the non-good-guy outsider zombies is limited to them showing up at the doorstep one by one and doing battle with Bill and Carrie, thus preserving the film's basic single setting (more or less, barring a visit to Charlie's place) while keeping that all-important budget under control.

Which isn't to say that the film looks particularly cheap--in fact, it's nicely-shot and benefits from a fine cast.  As for the gore effects, there are surprisingly few, and certainly not enough to make this a gorehounds' delight.

In fact, you could probably watch this with your kids without overly traumatizing them.  Bill's voracious devouring of various victims is actually depicted by a cartoony effect that recalls, of all things, the Tasmanian Devil from the "Bugs Bunny" cartoons. 

It's certainly less graphic than that Drew Barrymore TV series with a similar premise but so much gore that in earlier years it would've been rated a hard X.

After the shadowy government agents enter the fray, all bets are off and ZBURBS seems to revel in how delightfully nutty it can get.  It didn't exactly blow me away, but if everything blew me away it would get awfully tiresome. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back be pleasantly entertained for a while.

Tech Specs
Runtime: 96 mins
Format: 1.78 Full Frame HD
Sound: Dolby SR
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Horror/ Sci-Fi

Captions: English
Bonus: behind-the-scenes featurette, trailers


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