Zombie Wife (2007) – By Duane L. Martin

 A guy and his wife have an argument one night while laying in bed.  He wishes her dead.  Unfortunately for her, sometimes wishes do come true, and the following day she’s killed, leaving her husband to make the funeral arrangements, etc…  He comes home and finds her waiting there for him, only…she’s a zombie now.  She comes after him, and he suddenly wakes up thinking it was only a dream.  At least he did until she turns over in bed and is still a zombie.

First off let me say I met these folks at the 2007 It Came From Lake Michigan film festival.  They seem like really nice people, which makes it even harder to have to give this film a less than glowing review.

A lot of times I’ll see full length films that I say would have worked better as shorts.  Well, this one is just the opposite.  It’s a short that would have worked far better had it been a lot longer and had more development in the story line.  There was so much fun stuff they could have done with this thing, even making it into a full on comedy as the zombie wife comes back and puts her husband through hell…only that didn’t happen.  What did happen is, she came back, nothing really happened, then he wakes up in bed with her.  Essentially, nothing really exciting or even all that interesting here.

The acting in the film was awkward at best.  I can’t tell if the dialogue was recited or improvised around a general outline, but the performances, with the exception of the minister at the funeral played by William Zenobia, were all rather unnatural and awkward.

The visual quality of the film was lacking as well.  I can’t ding them too much for this as people can only use the equipment they have.  The problem with the visual quality was made worse however by the fact that at least some of the scenes, if not the whole film, were over compressed.  Compression artifacts are clearly visible in some of the darker scenes.  A good example of this is the scene where he receives the call that his wife is dead.  If you look in the dark areas, like around his vest, you can see huge, blocky artifacts in the visuals.  I can’t figure out why this was compressed so much, because less than half the space on the DVD is used.  There was no reason to compress the video much at all, and much of the compression noise could have been reduced if it had just been mastered at a higher quality.

The one thing in this film that did look good was the zombie make-up, done by Jim Bett Jr.  He did a nice job making Beth up, I just wish there had been more to the film so that the make-up, which had to be a pain, and quite time consuming to apply, could have been put to better use.

The DVD also includes outtakes, a thing showing how the make-up was done, and director Jason Knuth’s first short called Chase, which wasn’t much more than his wife Beth running through some woods, walking into a cabin, someone stabbing the air and her falling over dead.

Again, these are nice people and I really hate giving them a bad review on this, but I can’t let my personal feelings about people affect my critique of their work.  This film was like a stew with no meat.  Something was missing.  It needed more story and had potential to be a lot more than it was.

If you’d like to find out more about the film, you can check out the film’s MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/jasonmknuth.