REVIEW: Super Z (2021)

dir. Julien de Volte and Arnaud Tabarly

French comedy-horror Super Z tells the tale of a small group of genetically modified zombies who escape from a secret industrial lab. Able to speak and with distinct wills of their own, the undead misfits form a dysfunctional family unit, creating their own warped domestic utopia in the woods. As they plot their revenge on mankind, ruthless human mercenaries hunt them down, setting the stage for a showdown between the living and the dead…

Opening with the words “Once upon a time” and photographed in highly stylised day-glo colours, the film is a low-budget scatological fairy tale of sorts, complete with a twisted ‘happy ending.’ Its relentless commitment to bad taste and low-brow sex comedy is almost admirably single-minded, and its zombie cast cannot be faulted for the enthusiasm they bring to their roles. However, this unwaveringly farcical tone is maintained at the expense of character development, and unfortunately serves to obscure any social comment implicit in the story. 

No taboo seems to be off-limits; the zombies graphically feast on genitals and even foetuses, while gender reassignment, domestic violence and incest are all played for laughs. While context can sometimes bring out humour in even the most difficult of subjects, the plot seems to lack a clear purpose or satirical target beyond a scattershot succession of gross-out gags. The undead heroes remain as caricatured as the grotesque humans pursuing them, with the jokes punching down on them all.

Of course, comedy is hugely subjective, and if the notion of Day of The Dead remade in the style of an exceptionally foul-mouthed Carry On film appeals, this may be the movie you have been waiting for. Sadly – despite a promising premise – for many it won’t be.

© Johnny Restall


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