Once upon a time I worked for Barclays. Though this was a sad time in my life, filled with nasty customers yelling at me down the phone and copious amounts of back ache, every-so-often a ray of light shone forth from behind the cloud of Customer Payment Solutions and one such sunbeam came in the form of my manager, Lee – a fellow geek. As we seemed to share similar taste in bad films, Lee lent me several dvds – including Wasting Away – introducing me to the only Zom-Rom I have ever found*
Though Wasting Away is most certainly not a high-caliber addition to the zombie genre, it has a bizarre quirkiness which, were more people to have heard of it, I feel would make it quite popular. Taking the traditional zombie horror and turning it on its head, the film’s heroes consist of a zombiefied commando and four zombiefied teenagers who he manages to rally. The basic premise is thus: our four teenagers accidentally consume glowing zombie-virus-filled ice-cream, pass out and wake up feeling pretty weird. Odd things start happening to them; everyone else seems to be acting strangely and after meeting our commando, they are convinced that everyone else has been turned into mutant zombies, with the ice-cream having turned them into super soldiers – leaving them to fight for the remainder of mankind. Alas our teenagers get bored of fighting for the remainder of mankind (As teenagers do) and so instead turn to flirting and romance, with surprising success considering they are zombies. Eventually their true state is revealed to them and our protagonists rise to meet their fates – leading a zombie rebellion and rushing the government in one last fight for survival.
The plot is not at all what you would expect when you hear ‘zombie film’ and yet is somehow remarkably entertaining. For the first time in film you get to see a world from the zombie’s perspective: to our teenagers it isn’t THEM that are acting weird, but the rest of the world. Granted they seem a bit confused by their sudden strength, desire for brains and ability to get shot without dying, but, HEY! Stranger things have happened, right? Unlike other supposed zombie-protagonist films, our main characters are true zombies – bits of them fall off, they eat brains**, rip people apart (if accidentally…) moan, groan and… well…. eat more brains. The premise is crap, but who cares? Somehow the lack of plausibility (or acting) doesn’t seem to matter in this film, It’s a sweet, coming of age rom-com that just happens to be about the undead. Issues like HOW toxic zombie juice manages to infect bowling alley icecream seems trivial compared to the awesomeness that is brain tacos or the fact that drunks are able to communicate with the undead.
*Warm Bodies is not a proper zombie romance film, and most certainly doesn’t count – considering he turns human in the end (oops – spoilers! Oh well…)
** and YES! I know that ‘R’ technically eats brains in Warm Bodies – but he feels conflicted about it!