I may have mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating. As everyone who has ever reviewed a movie knows, finding something that you can only end up describing as decidedly average is pretty disheartening. Because if you find a movie that you absolutely love then you just can’t wait to spread the message to others. If it’s a new film then you hope that you’re somehow helping, in a very small way, to get that film noticed and talked about. Find a movie that you hate and you can at least vent about it, while thinking up numerous new insults to bandy around in your angry rant. If you’re agreeing with a majority then people will still enjoy reading your particular take down of the movie. And if you’re in the minority, well, that can draw people in like a freshly-baked tray of squishy brownies. But a decidedly average film . . . . . . . . . where’s the fun in that?
In case you hadn’t already guessed, Me And My Mates Vs. The Zombie Apocalypse is – spoiler alert – a decidedly average film. In fact, it’s the least of a fairly recent glut of zombie comedy flicks: Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse, Freaks Of Nature, I Survived A Zombie Holocaust, Night Of The Living Deb, Milfs Vs. Zombies and a few others I can’t think of right now. Okay, maybe it’s not quite the least of them, but that’s only because I forgot about a couple of titles until I started typing out that short sample list.
The sad thing is that this movie seemed to have a bit of potential. It’s Australian, and I often like the particular style of dry humour that the Australians have at times packaged successfully into movies. It’s got zombies, obviously, and I am easily pleased by many zombie films. And there’s even a small role here for Jim Jefferies, a very funny guy I’ve enjoyed since being introduced to his stand up comedy about seven or eight years ago.
But it’s only really the Australian humour that works, and even that is intermittent throughout the film (mainly when the characters are discussing cricket). The zombies are never treated like a serious threat, except for the moments when someone is about to die, and that leaves the film completely lacking in tension. A few moments of decent gore aside, this is a horror comedy that seems to (like so many others) get the balance wrong, forgetting that viewers may want some actual horror or thrills in the mix. And as for Jim Jefferies? His screentime is rather limited and he’s just not as enjoyable when constrained by a standard movie script.
Writer-director Declan Shrubb does okay with his low budget, although the tight shots and the fact that most of the movie is set in one location always serve as reminders, and his intentions shine through the disappointing execution of the material. Although a few more people flesh out the cast, it’s Alex Williamson, Greg Fleet, and Adele Vuko who do their best with the material, with the first two proving particularly entertaining in most of their scenes together.
Sadly, this is more miss than hit. But you can still have some fun with it, especially late at night with some liquid refreshment accompanying your viewing experience. Which is probably the way it was always meant to be viewed.
Me And My Mates Vs The Zombie Apocalypse was released on DVD here in the UK on May 2nd.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: DECLAN SHRUBB
STARS: ALEX WILLIAMSON, GREG FLEET, ADELE VUKO, ANDY TRIEU, JIM JEFFERIES
RUNTIME: 90 MINS APPROX