Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies Turns Characters into Bloodied Meat Pies: A Film Review

Tagline: "It Grows on You."

*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by the film's publicity arm.

Director: Mark Newton.

Writers: Christian Hokenson.

Cast: Miles Doleac, Timothy Haug, Johnny McPhail and Wyntergrace Williams.

Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies reminds this viewer of a much older film. Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) was one of the first films this viewer remembers watching which was truly laugh out loud funny. Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies, from director Mark Newton and writer Christian Hokenson, is also full of great one-liners and silly scenarios. But, there were no zombies in the Kentucky Fried Movie. In this film, much of the undead action takes place at a music festival. Here, a toxin turns the city of Charleston mad. There is a lot of plot for viewers to chew through as the many characters have their own subplots, or character arcs to work through. This reviewer enjoyed the many comedic tidbits, especially the witty dialogue. Overall, Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies is for film viewers looking for something a bit lighter in tone and more comedic, rather than just horrifying.

Much of the film is shot in one setting. A music festival brings lots of characters together. At the festival, a meat pie competition is underway. But, consumers might be turned into something more ravenous after taking a bite. Character Lonnie (Timothy Haug) is trying to win Kayla (Wyntergrace Williams) back. Once the zombies are let loose, this setting utilizes the dunk tank and ball room to affect. Though, shooting half of the film in one setting does slow the film down a bit, through Act I.

At another location, scientists are once again destroying the world. Two researchers are using Quadoxin as a herbicide. The kudzu weed is taking over farmland. The goats love it. But, everyone else hates this encroaching vine. What better way to test out a toxin than by using it on the local populace? One hermit goes down quick, then another minor character succumbs to a bite. And, it is all undead from there on out.

Only a few subplots have been mentioned above; there are even more subplots to entangle the characters. The local mayor may have stolen the town's election from another, fraudulently. There is a loud, hilarious shouting match at the festival. Also, one side of the meat pie competition has used too much kudzu weed, in its recipe. Minor characters will need more than just an antacid to fend off the meat pie's effects. As well, a lesbian romance gets hot and cold, depending on how many zombies are onscreen. Then, a small Charleton militia is doing more harm than good. Who gave these guys RPGs? There really are a number of subplots here. Thankfully, the main plot is a bit simpler and easier to digest.

This viewer enjoyed the comedic scenarios and lines the best. The first half of the film is a little bit more comedic than the latter half. Action picks up the film's pace in the final act. Before the finale, a zombie clown is making all sorts of strange sounds, while being bludgeoned to death - by a super-size hammer. This scene is comedic and traumatizing all in one. On the other side of the festival, a biker couple is a little too affectionate. How can people swap that much spit? In an earlier scene, a fisherman has caught the world's largest fish. When it turns out to be a member of the undead, it will be a surprise for everyone. There are a number of great lines, in the film, as well. One lab employee loves "the smell of Quadroxin in the morning" a la Apocalypse Now (1979). Meanwhile, there is an inside joke in one scientist's name. But, it might be too soon for radioactive Japanese jokes. All-in-all, writer Hokenson has included enough comedy here, for most watchers to enjoy a laugh or two.

Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies is very much an indie, zombie film. Shot for a pittance, the filmmakers have brought a fun feature to the screen. Slated for a March 13th Digital release, Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies invites viewers into an exciting journey through a music festival and beyond. There are a lot of jokes to lighten the mood. Meanwhile, there are all sorts of explosions and gunfire going off, to hold action fans' attention. The make-up is also gory and well done. So, there are a number of reasons to play Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies on your home theatre. There are also lots of opportunities to laugh at the film's sillier moments and scenarios.

Overall: 7 out of 10.

*also known as Kudzu Zombies.

The film's homepage, which includes a graphic novel and prequel: The Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies Homepage

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