A surprisingly witty and original horror comedy about zombies from France, “Super Z” manages to be both memorable and wildly entertaining.
If you’re the type of horror fan who loves zombie movies but also appreciates the occasional fresh take on a well-trod path, Super Z may be on your radar right now. The brainchild of French directing duo Julien de Volte and Arnaud Tabarly, the film seeks to breathe new life into a subgenre that can sometimes read as tired at best.
But does it actually do that, or is your valuable viewing time better spent elsewhere?
Super Z stars John Libereau, Julien Courbey, Fabien Ara, Audrey Giacomini, and Marion Mezadorian, among others. De Volte and Tabarly also share writing credit for the film.
Super Z is more than just a story about a bunch of zombies. It’s the story of a close-knit family of zombies who were born in a laboratory, the creations of an unhinged Frankenstein-Esque mad scientist. One day, four of them manage to escape the facility where they’re imprisoned and decide to start a life together as a makeshift family soon afterward.
Gertre (Libereau) and Stephana (Courbey) step up as the parental figures of the group, while Marcelline (Giacomini) and Georgette (Florence Bebic-Veruni) fall into sibling roles instead. A fifth zombie – Yvon (Ara) – eventually joins their clan as the plot progresses.
From there, Super Z pretty much delivers exactly the viewing experience you’d expect from a horror-comedy about a zombie family.
They’re zombies who are pretty upset about their history with human beings, so they’re certainly not above killing and eating anyone who gets in their way. But they also struggle with the dynamics of being a family to the same extent a group of human characters would. (Think What We Do in the Shadows, only with zombies.)
In fact, it’s how the film approaches aspects of family living that will be familiar to every viewer – like morality, sexuality, and how to coexist peacefully – that sets it apart in the right ways.
For example, Gertre and Stephana are a joy to watch because of their unexpected sensitivity as characters and genuine love for each other. It’s also hilarious and interesting to experience so much of the mundane through the eyes of various zombies.
Super Z is filled with energy, moving along at a formidable pace from start to finish. And it’s not afraid to take things well over the top, either.
There’s plenty of gore here to please any seasoned zombie lover. There’s also a lot of cheesy, over-the-top humor, and that helps keep this from feeling just like every other zombie movie out there. The fact that this also happens to be a foreign film will add some dimension for English-speaking audiences, as well.
But don’t assume Super Z doesn’t have any surprises up its sleeve.
For something so “in your face” about its approach to a wildly popular and overdone subgenre, this film has a lot of heart to it.
If you think there’s no way you could relate to a zombie on a personal level or see one doing anything that touches your heart, know that SUPER Z does its damnedest to challenge your assumptions.
De Volte and Tabarly have written and directed a feature debut here that simultaneously feels fresh and eclectic while nodding firmly toward other films diehard horror fans will recognize – like Return of the Living Dead and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, to name just two.
It might confuse you. It might leave you feeling like some genres should never be mixed. It may (or may not) leave you laughing uncontrollably, possibly for the wrong reasons. But one thing Super Z won’t do is bore you.
Dedicated zombie fans should consider watching it for that reason alone. At the very least, you’ll be duly entertained for the entirety of its 80-minute runtime.