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MISS ZOMBIE (2013)
Directed by SABU
Written by SABU
Starring Makoto Togashi, Ayaka Komatsu, Tateto Serizawa, Tôru Tezuka, Tarô Suruga, Hihio Iwanaga, Riku Ohnishi, Takaya Yamauchi
Once must sift through a lot of crap in order to find a zombie movie of worth these days. While the zombie trend has seemed to sibsided a bit, that doesn’t mean that people just stopped making them. Anyone who follows my reviews should know that. But a zombie film worth watching, that’s a whole other enchilada. MISS ZOMBIE is such an enchilada.
In a world where the sight of zombies have become commonplace and society has moved on, a Japanese family orders a zombie as a servant. Despite some reluctance from some family members, the father receives a large package containing one zombie (Ayaka Komatsu), a note telling the owner to never feed it meat, and one gun to put her down if necessary. The story continues with the family adjusting to this new addition to their family and coming to eventually rely on it to survive.
The closest thing I’ve seen that I can compare MISS ZOMBIE with is FIDO, a story where zombies have become pets to the world. But while that story is more of a social commentary heavy on the commentary where MISS ZOMBIE is much more of a sobering and serious experience. What SABU does with this film is explore how fragile a family unit truly can be. While the family seems to be organized and even somewhat happy, the incorporation of the zombie holds a real mirror to the family to expose all of their faults. But SABU doesn’t stop there. He also explores the ugliness of our own culture as the zombie is able to maintain her own life on her own. So after performing her chores at the family’s home, the zombie is tormented by children, walks past other zombies living on the street like homeless people, and assaulted by thugs on the street. Zombies are a true sub-class of human in this society’s eyes and the torment humanity is capable of is illustrated in every slow step the zombie makes back home from her job every day. It’s a statement about the horrific capabilities of society. It’s a story about the ugliness of man against his own. This is a world where zombies exist, but the real monsters are the humans and while it is an intense horror story, it’s also one that makes us question what it takes to be truly human.
MISS ZOMBIE is shot in beautiful black and white. The harshness of this format provides a contrast that shows the cruel hypocrisy of what the world thinks as right and wrong, decent and savage. Miss Zombie is there to serve and her goal is clear. It’s the humans that can’t seem to accept her for what she is, thinking of her as a nanny, a lover, a sex object, a monster, whatever suits their needs at the time. It truly is horrifying seeing the way our world treats her.
Zombies have been used as a metaphor for many things, but never really with the sophistication and finesse as the way it is dealt with in MISS ZOMBIE. There are scenes of gore. There are scenes of masses of zombies attacking the innocent. But those aren’t the moments you will take away from this one. You’ll take away the injustices that are performed against Miss Zombie by those who call themselves decent people that is the real horror. MISS ZOMBIE is a sad and harrowing look at one woman’s struggle against a world set on taking her down step by step. There really is nothing like it in the zombie genre and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for more of a soulful experience along with their horror.