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Guilty Pleasures: Zoombies 

When? 2016, Not rated.  |  Where? Netflix.

Zoombies.

No, it’s not that weird dance-exercise craze your grandma signed up for at the YMCA last year. That’s Zumba. Zoombies a recently released horror movie available for streaming that you should go and check it out right now.

The plot of Zoombies shouldn’t really surprise anyone, given the film’s name. It’s about a zoo that’s been besieged by zombies. The twist is that the zombies aren’t humans, but the undead horde at the heart of this flick consists of the zoo animals themselves. Zombie monkeys, zombie lions, zombie giraffes, and my own personal favorite, a zombie koala (kzombala?).

click to enlarge LET’S GO TO THE ZOO:  'Zoombies' features a cast of undead zoo animals with a hunger for human flesh and a relatively unknown but very talented cast. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ASYLUM
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ASYLUM
  • LET’S GO TO THE ZOO: 'Zoombies' features a cast of undead zoo animals with a hunger for human flesh and a relatively unknown but very talented cast.

In the film, the animals at a yet-to-be-opened zoo and wildlife refuge become infected with an unknown virus and begin to turn on their overseers, which include the zoo owners, a security team, and a group of hapless interns. The plot is driven along at pretty good clip as the humans race against the clock to stop the zoo birds from getting the virus, thus spreading it to the animals outside the zoo. 

While it looks like yet another “so-bad-it’s-good” low-budget horror movie, Zoombies actually has a lot of great stuff going for it. The movie was cast remarkably well, and many of the actors gave performances well above my expectations for the kind of movies I was watching. Actress Ione Butler, who plays tough-as-nails security intern Lizzy, was particularly fun to watch as she channeled a gritty heroine on par with The Walking Dead’s sword-wielding badass Michonne. Kim Neilson, who plays the zoo’s owner, Dr. Ellen Rogers, also gave a believable performance, considering how ludicrous the premise of Zoombies is.

Overall, good dialogue and above-par acting performances really elevate Zoombies above much of the terrible, B-tier dreck that clogs Netflix’s horror offerings. At a time when even the most hardcore horror fans are suffering from severe cases of zombie film fatigue, Zoombies’ clever mash up of Night of the Living Dead and Jurassic Park freshens up a genre that’s grown particularly stale. 

In a world where movies like this are shoveled out with little attention to quality, you can really tell that the folks involved with Zoombies put a lot of care and thought into making a good film. Low budget doesn’t always have to mean terrible, and not every B-horror movie has be dripping with the winking irony of “Look how bad this is! Isn’t that funny?” Zoombies took an absolutely absurd premise, treated it seriously, and it paid off. While the movie certainly has its flaws, I’m willing to ignore and forgive many of them, and overall, my viewing experience left me eagerly hoping for a Zoombies 2. (87 min.) 

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