There’s something absolutely genius about director Matthew Kohnen’s horror comedy in which he concocts a formula that’s been done before, and yet feels absolutely brand new. We’ve seen it a thousand times: the government is devising a new toxin for war fare and before they realize it they’ve created a breeding fluid for zombified soldiers. Choosing instead to do away with it, they camouflage the chemical as baby formula and drive it off to a deserted locale. Thanks to inept truck drivers, a barrel falls off the truck and in to a local town behind a bowling alley.
At this moment is when “Aaah!! Zombies!!” becomes quite fantastic as four friends sitting at the bowling alley after hours finds the barrel and assumes it’s a keg. Putting the chemical with soft serve as a prank mix of beer and ice cream (only the chemical is green as everything is black and white in a wicked homage/satire to the colorized “Night of the Living Dead” release), they willingly ingest the fluid and before they know it, they’ve died and awaken as zombies. From there, Kohnen completely flips the page on the narrative peeking in to the eyes of the zombie while also peeking through the eyes of the victims. Through sharp and brilliantly directed black and white sequences, he pictures this world through the victim’s eyes as they see the four friends as pearl eyed growling zombies shambling along the city aimlessly, while the friends view the world through brisk color that allows them a distorted view of the world around them.
To us they’re the walking dead. To them they’re just beginning to live life. Convinced they’re apart of some experiment that’s turned them in to super soldiers fighting for America, they wreak havoc across the city storming restaurants, and bars, having fights with patrons their newest confidant insists work for the government, and occasionally feasting on human brains. Only to whet the appetite of fighting crime. The zombie effects first and foremost are fantastic providing monsters that are ghoulish and startling in their appearance, while also immediately catching the eyes with their vein laced skin and gray exterior. Kohnen is perfectly capable of balancing both narratives with pure ease providing a monster movie and a tragic romance that completely crashes together by the time the coming of age and discovery comes in to play.
The performances are also quite sharp, including Matthew Davis who is hilarious as the head zombie who takes to zombification quite well, even dabbling a skosh in human cranium while fighting. “Aah!! Zombies!!” feels very much like a sequel to “Return of the Living Dead” had the series decided to continue reaching for innovation and not cutting financial corners. Given the opportunity, Matthew Kohnen can create a brilliant zombie masterpiece, because with “Aah!! Zombies!!” he comes ridiculously close with a movie that’s hilarious, heart breaking, and spooky. Where will you be where the zombie apocalypse comes? Because if this is life as a zombie, maybe we’re not that screwed. “Aah!! Zombies!!” is a surprisingly great horror comedy with depth, scares, top notch effects, and sharp performances, all wrapped up in one undead bow.