Wasting Away (2007)

Rating: *
Alternate Title: Aaah! Zombies!!
Review Date: 6/26/11

A clever twist on the worn out zombie genre that explores the zombie apocalypse from the point of view of the zombies. Unfortunately, the low budget execution and juvenile writing ruin any chance of it being entertaining. Military toxic waste finds its way into a soft serve ice cream machine at a bowling alley, where four friends eat it and turn into animated corpses. However, they don't realize that they're zombies, and they think that everyone else has gone mad. A chance meeting with a psychotic military man (who is also a zombie) confirms their suspicions, and he tells them the town is being infected by an experimental virus that the army has developed. It's up to them to stop the spread of the virus, which leads to predictably comedic shenanigans. When the zombies finally realize what they are and what their inevitable fate is, they band together and flee into the desert to find a place where they'll be safe from the judgement and persecution of outsiders.

The film's one clever gimmick is that it uses color vs. black and white to represent the viewpoints of the humans vs. the zombies. When the film is in black and white, we're seeing what normal people see, which is moaning, shuffling corpses with a craving for brains. When the film is in color, we're seeing the world as the zombies see it, which is "normal" since they think they're still human. Unfortunately, the characters are unlikable and the dialogue is atrocious. Only the over-the-top ramblings of the deluded army man provide any entertainment, and he's the only one who takes anything seriously. The other characters have their own mundane personal problems to deal with, including forbidden love and job interviews. The visual effects are competent, but mostly uninteresting. The film overstays its welcome by about thirty minutes, and the pacing is as slow and sluggish as the zombies are. The final act is especially absurd as the zombies realize their fate and attempt to take charge of their destiny. "Wasting Away" is clearly a film made by geeks, but like most geek entertainment, its cleverness and heavy handed self awareness fails to find an audience to resonate with.