Fido (2006)

When I first heard the plot of Fido, it was still very much in the making. I was excited. A zombie flick set in a world where the undead were given menial jobs is a total extension of the Romero view of the world. I thought we were going to see serious subtext that discussed both race and class. What I got when I finally got to sit down to watch it was a fairly genial zombie version of Old Yeller.

The plot centres on some kid in a generic Fifties TV town, much like in shows such as Leave It To Beaver and its ilk, when his family finally get a zombie butler (zombutler?) to keep up with the Joneses. Naming the shambler Fido, the kid finds the sort of patriarchal bond that is so lacking in his current home life due to his Dad’s constant working. Throw in an evil corporation and this all sounds like a pretty interesting story. The thing is, it’s not.

Fido is presented in such an inoffensive way that it is impossible to know who its true audience is. The story of a lonely boy befriending a creature from a different society doesn’t appeal to me as an adult, but would appeal to me say ten years ago. The gore probably isn’t suitable for most kids of thirteen; it did keep me interested in the last act. Also, I found the movie’s distinct lack of any proper subtext a real blow. Why make a movie about underclass undead if you don’t plan on exploiting it as a comment on society? It seems like a total waste of a good allegory (Gory, geddit?) and cheapens the whole experience.

However, the zombies look great, if a bit too human. I mean, these folks are meant to have been dead for a pretty long time and some of them are barely rotting. There are a few really nice touches, such as Tim Blake Nelson’s Mr. Theopolis and his zombie mistress which was both hilarious and oddly touching in equal parts. The films 93 minute running time zips by due to some deft pacing; the movie definitely follows the old Hollywood rule of something happening every five pages. The final showdown is rushed but classy, but the tone is shifted so quickly that its hard to believe that you didn’t accidentally sit on the remote. The acting is solid too, Dylan Baker is very believable and Carrie Anne Moss seems to be having bags of fun. It definitely seems like seasoned character actors taking a part in a mid budget zombie romp in order to flex their fun muscles. Even the kid is pretty good.

Altogether, despite the fact that the screaming lack of subtext left me feeling cheated, Fido is easy to enjoy as a gory alternative to One Boy And His Dog type movies and maybe even a blood soaked sequel to Monster Squad but little more. Fido is a pretty fun but ultimately vapid movie.

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.