I Survived a Zombie Holocaust follows a runner called Wesley (yes, he is as hopeless as his name sounds) as he embarks on his first day on the set of a low-budget zombie film. Little do he and the rest of the cast and crew know, that a real zombie apocalypse is on the horizon and the set is about to be overwhelmed with the undead – for real.
As a product of a post-modern world where creativity is almost as dead as the film’s zombies, Guy Pigden’s I Survived a Zombie Holocaust proves that enjoyment can still be had when almost nothing is unique. The film works wonderfully as a meta acceptance that there is pretty much nothing left to do with the zombie genre. From the characterisation, to the location and the unabashedly self-referential script, this film is not trying to do anything different, because we’ve had enough zombie parodies, comedies and romances to last us a lifetime. I Survived a Zombie Holocaust is about appreciating the genre for what it used to be and the place it is now, questioning what is next for a horror sub-genre that is running out of steam. And it’s quite the joyous journey to travel on, because it’s a ridiculous and gory ride of enjoyable ridiculousness.
The characters are little more than 2-dimensional representations of stereotypes you will expect a zombie film to be decorated with. The director is an arrogant, self-centred and bossy asshole who has time for no one but himself, there’s a blonde bimbo with bouncing boobs and our protagonist is a loveable weirdo who can’t do anything right. Additionally, there’s the ditzy hunk, the intelligent female love interest and the comic relief. It’s a paint-by-numbers characterisation, but that’s all this film needs to get across its point. They are all ridiculously exaggerated to the point of eruption and it is surprisingly side-splitting to follow them all on their mostly doomed paths.
Without a doubt, this is the kind of film where you know how it’s all going to pan out, but it’s still a lot of bloody and exasperating fun to get there. The film puts everything out on the table – even the title tells you the ending – and becomes one of the most entertaining zombie films to grace the screen. It manages to maintain a mostly energetic pace and it becomes impossible to not enjoy, because you can tell that the cast are having so much fun bringing this film to life. If any film can be described as being infectiously amusing, then this is the one.
There are a couple of moments where the plot feels a bit meandering and it would have been easy to slice a chunk off the run time. Unsurprisingly, the film has clearly devoted a lot of time to securing the hilarity of its script, but there were occasions where the jokes fell flat or were a little too drawn-out. Despite your attention beginning to droop, it won’t be difficult to forgive the film as it treats you to another silly, yet fresh, piece of comedy.
In terms of horror, there’s nothing here that’s going to scare your socks off and that’s perfectly fine. Nonetheless, there are some great gory moments that give the film a much-needed kick out of the straight comedy zone. Just as the director says, “Finally, something with real substance!” as he records real zombies for his film, horror fans will be relieved that I Survived a Zombie Holocaust can deliver brilliantly bloody action to go with its witty writing.
Although it’s overall lack of creativity can only level it 3 stars, I Survived a Zombie Holocaust is a worthy tongue-in-cheek examination of the zombie genre, working well as a love letter to a genre that Guy Pigden must certainly admire. It’s a very silly, but highly entertaining low-budget flick that’s propelled by a devoted cast and sharp script.
Words: Jessy Williams (@JessyCritical)