(2006)3.5Derek ArmstrongThe vacant stares, the jerky movements, the easily escapable speed of their pursuit -- zombies have always carried with them an element of comedy, intentional or otherwise. But Andrew Currie's Fido does something a little different than the majority of the "zom coms" out there, placing his zombies in the 1950s -- the archetypal 1950s, the kind you remember from those "duck and cover" instructional films. The portrait-like perfection of the family unit was one of the hallmarks of that decade, and here, zombies complete that portrait -- as domesticated "pets," who mow the lawn and carry in the groceries. And keeping a beloved family member on in zombie form is better than no form at all, right? There are a lot of fun satirical opportunities in this cheery, pastel-colored world that gets spattered in blood from time to time, and Currie doesn't miss out on them.
Billy Connolly is virtually unrecognizable as the titular zombie with a dog's name; his closest cinematic forebear may be Peter Boyle's monster from Young Frankenstein. Connolly uses a combination of sad eyes, inquisitive grunts, and gruff signs of loyalty, not only to become probably the most sympathetic zombie in film history, but also to demonstrate why society has kept the undead around, rather than just unleashing them all into the "wild zone," where they run rampant. There's even a government agency -- called ZomCom, in a spoof of the film's genre -- assigned to regulate them, an intentional skewering of Bush-era tactics for policing the element of "other" in American society. Good performances from Dylan Baker, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Tim Blake Nelson keep this whimsical alternate universe moving forward joyously. Fido is a lot of fun.