“Not Another Zombie….About the Living Dead” directed by Donte Williams and Jack Johnson is feature length parody movie lampooning zombies, horror tropes as well as some pointed looks at “ratchet” lifestyle choices and the sort. If there is any movie this particular film is most similar to it’s probably “Leprechaun in the Hood” or perhaps “Mutant Vampire Zombies From the Hood.” This is the kind of film you watch with a group of friends drunk. Unfortunately I was stone cold sober when I watched this; alone in my house.
Starring a bevy of actors including “Black” Jack Johnson, Jay Davis (who also wrote the film), Will Cummings, Harold Dennis and Calvin Evans this movie is more about setting up the next big joke rather than advancing the story. There is a plot however and it’s fairly easy to follow: a zombie outbreak is started at a pharmaceuticals company which spreads to a small town. Two survivors must band together with a ragtag team in order to make it out of the city before it’s nuked into oblivion. “Standard zombie apocalypse protocol” states Jay Davis.
This in some ways is a very hard film to review. The movie isn’t made to be a cinematic masterpiece, it’s meant to be; crass, offensive, violent, offbeat and a bit zany and at times it sort of succeeds at doing this. Clearly inspired by similar films such as “Scary Movie” or “Not Another Teen Movie” there are moments of genuine comedy such as a flashback that reveals how the zombie apocalypse started and some unexpected violent deaths that are meant to feel satisfyingly arbitrary but these moments are few and far between.
I have a rule with offensive comedy: if you are going to say or do something offensive I better laugh. An offensive joke that’s not funny is just offensive and that’s sadly where most of the supposed humor from this film lies. It’s irreverent to an extreme fault and almost always goes for the cheap joke crossing far beyond the blue line. What’s more the execution of said jokes just always seems a bit off, maybe they sounded good on paper but in practice most jokes fall flat in this film.
Jay Davis wrote the film and also stars in the film as a truly disgusting character who really should be a character you hate, but Davis seems to be unaware of his reality and writes his character as a slacker with no real future and yet also as a ladies man who is still able to woo multiple women. Davis clearly wrote the character for himself and uses that power to make a character that in any other movie would be killed almost instantly due to his lack of usefulness to the group and his general attitude. That would work if the movie was sharply written but Davis seems fixated on making sure his character gets the “best lines” and biggest moments and lets the rest of the cast pick up his scraps.
The movie is also incredibly sexist, and this touches a weird area for me. Sexism in comedy sometimes can be a powerful tool to make some well timed offensive jokes, but if these jokes miss the mark you are left feeling awkward and uncomfortable. All the mean spirited jokes in this film seem to be directed towards the female sex. Women are merely props in this film who are either there to be killed, parlay the cast into some sort of crude and overt sexual deviance and or do something sexual and then die. Maybe if there was more of a balance with the mistreatment of the male characters I could ignore this but it’s painfully clear that the writer and director have made a project that is incessantly degrading towards women. Black women in particular, which I found strange seeing as the director and writer are both African American.
Black women in this film are treated horribly, and their white & Asian counterparts don’t fare much better. When one of the first lines in a movie feels the need to praise a man’s wife for being “biracial” you know you’re in for a long evening.
The acting throughout is consistently bland, save for a few inspired actors like a pregnant woman (Jackie Dallas) and her husband most of the actors seem to be playing their characters in broad strokes that limit their comedic potential. There was a spark of hope when the actress Natasha Pearl Hansen appeared but it doesn’t last long enough and it’s a completely wasted opportunity to use an actor with some true grit.
In the end this film feels more like a bunch of friends goofing off over the course of a long summer week, and in some respects that’s totally fine. But the movie uses up all it’s good will so early on that it becomes a chore to watch it. Williams, Johnson & David need to do some serious self evaluation before their next film, they might be able to make something truly funny in the near future if they do. “Not Another Zombie Movie…About the Living Dead” is so bad it’s almost good. But it’s not good, not even close.
If you have a few beers in your system and an hour to kill go check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NotAnotherZombieMovieFanPage and watch the movie for yourself. Who knows, you might disagree with me.