Director: Andrew Currie
Screenwriters: Dennis Heaton, Robert Chomiak, Andrew Currie
Producers: Mary Anne Waterhouse, Blake Corbet
Cast: Carrie-Anne Moss, Billy Connolly, Dylan Baker, Tim Blake Nelson, Henry Czerny
Canada, 2006, 98 min.
*Fido whisks us away to a beautifully Technicolor alternate reality where zombies roam the earth. Not to fear--their never-ending appetite for human flesh has been stifled by a patented domestication collar, manufactured en masse by megacorporation Zomcon. Citizens can sleep at night knowing their zombies are not there to eat brains but to mow lawns, deliver milk, and serve food--as model zombie citizens should.
In this faux-'50s suburban utopia, young Timmy Robinson's family is behind the times. Due to an unfortunate zombie experience in his past, Timmy's father is unwilling to allow even one into their home, while everyone else on the block has multiple undead servants. Tired of helplessly trying to keep up with the Joneses, Timmy's mother goes against her husband's wishes and brings home the family's first zombie. Timmy immediately takes to the loveable brute, forming an unlikely friendship, though this family pet is not your average Lassie.
In Fido, director Andrew Currie has provided a version of the 1950s idyllic world like never before, and a welcome addition to the burgeoning genre of undead comedy.
*Summary by Adam Montgomery, SUNDANCE Film Programmer
I’m not sure if I can give the best review for this film, Fido, because it was the midnight film on one of the Sundance nights, the 6th film I had seen that day. I won’t say that I slept through the whole thing, but there are definitely spots in my memory that are a bit hazy regarding the specifics of the plot. From what I remember though, this was a fun and clever comedy that was too long and too reliant on its one-joke premise. I was surprised to see the high caliber of cast in this film, such as Dylan Baker and Carrie-Anne Moss, and it was a delight to see them in comedic roles. However, I was most grateful for the return of actor Henry Czerny. He wins my ‘where-the-hell-did-he-disappear-to?’ award, because he had that great year in the ‘90s with two fantastic performances in Mission: Impossible and Clear and Present Danger, then he was gone. Well, he shows up again in Fido and the lectures he gives to classrooms about how to treat the undead were the smartest parts of the film. Also, Billy Connolly plays the lead zombie, Fido, and he provides a small master class in how to convey emotions and thoughts without verbal dialogue. I can see that his character and some of his personality traits are developed from ‘Bob’, the halfway-intelligent zombie from Romero’s Day of the Dead, but Mr. Connolly creates his own interpretation of a not-quite brain dead zombie. I particularly liked the interactions between Fido and Carrie-Anne Moss’ character, Helen, as she starts to feel some attraction for her docile manservant.
I just felt the opportunity was there to go so much farther with the comedy and social satire than the filmmakers eventually did. For instance, the Tim Blake Nelson character is sleeping with his zombie wife, who still looks relatively un-decomposed since she turned into a zombie very soon after death. There relationship is funny, but I think it is also a missed opportunity to go a bit farther down that creepy road and delve into the stereotypical male yearnings for simple, undemanding wives. I also would have liked to have gotten a little bit of background regarding the Zombie Wars that took place in the film’s past. Their society exists in this pretty ‘50s retro-style, but near the end of the film, we get a peek at what lies beyond the neighborhoods of white picket fences and apple pie. It’s still a horrifying and scary world outside the gates and I would have loved to explore that area a bit.But, of course, that is not what the film is interested in. The filmmakers want to make you laugh, and then startle you with a surprising bit of gore after Fido gets off his leash. And there are some really funny parts. My favorite was the television commercial that demonstrated situations where the dead may rise. An old man is shown rising zombie-like from a bedroom floor as a youth desperately yells into the phone, “My grandpa’s fallen and now he’s getting up!” There are many clever in-jokes like that, and you will definitely laugh at the humor presented in this film. I just want a little more meat on my funny bone than Fido has to offer.