PiFan 09 Review: THE NEIGHBOR ZOMBIE

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor

A huge audience favorite here in PiFan - where it had its world premiere and currently holds an audience rating better than 9 out of 10 - anthology horror film The Neighbor Zombie features a series of short films from four different directors, all of them set in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak in Seoul. An extremely low budget affair and as uneven as these sorts of anthologies tend to be, The Neighbor Zombie nevertheless has no shortage of clever ideas throughout though the level of execution varies from film to film.

After an animated sequence establishing the world we are moving in to - an experimental AIDS vaccine is at fault for the zombie outbreak - The Neighbor Zombie starts off strong with a trio of strong entries. We begin with the clever and stylish story of a solitary geek shut into his apartment with nothing but his extensive collection of figures and toys. How does a zombie infection fit in? Well, bizarrely, it appears that the culprit is the apartment itself with various cracks in the floor and between boxes nibbling on fingers and toes while an unseen force physically prevents our poor protagonist from escaping until he's hungry, desperate and zombie enough to literally eat his own foot. Or at least half of it.

From there we meet young lovers trying to celebrate their first anniversary, the one drawback being that he's halfway through a zombie transformation and falling apart at the seams. In a show of solidarity she opts to join him in his zombie like state and the pair set off to search for a rumored vaccine before the transformation fully takes hold. And then we get the cream of the project, the story of a girl keeping her zombified mother chained up in her apartment, caring for mother by snipping off her own (that being the daughter's own) fingers and preparing drugged up cocktails of blood to keep mom sedate.

The unifying note in all three of these early pieces is that they keep the story small, thereby not stretching the budget beyond what it can bear. No such luck for the next piece, which attempts to tell a multi-layered action story but simply can't pull it off with the resources available. And then we wrap with a post-infection story in which the zombies have been cured. Which would be great except the formerly infected are plagued with nightmares of their zombie selves, cannot find work thanks to anti-zombie bias and - in some cases - are being hunted by angry survivors of the onslaught thirsty for revenge. This one isn't executed particularly well, either, but it a fascinating and completely unique concept that could easily be spun out into a pretty compelling feature if someone had the urge to do so.

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