Review: REEL ZOMBIES (2008){0}

Canadian filmmakers David J. Francis and Mike Masters reunited for this 2008 mockumentary charting the ten-day production of the third in their ‘commercially unsuccessful’ zombie trilogy. Playing themselves, albeit slightly exaggerated versions, Francis and Masters put together a cast and crew, most of whom worked on the first two films, and set about making a movie in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, about a zombie apocalypse.

Reel Zombies may have been likened to This is Spinal Tap, but it has more in common with George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead, which follows a group of young filmmakers running into real zombies whilst shooting their own horror film. But Reel Zombies, like Rob Reiner’s amp, goes one louder.

Despite being predominately a mockumentary, the film functions as a half decent zombie flick in its own right, offering a nihilistic insight into an undead apocalypse. Life simply goes on: friends make movies and hang out, dispatching the walking dead as required. With all the countless zombie movies around, many of them home made, the film begs the question why more hasn’t been done to subvert and explore the subgenre since 2004’s Shaun of the Dead.

It’s rare that horror films have any genuine laughs, even those on the subversive side (Scream is hardly side splitting) but Reel Zombies is genuinely laugh out loud funny. Sam Hall, again playing himself, has a sardonic humour which clashes effectively against David J. Francis’s own happy go lucky approach to filmmaking. But it’s the bearded zombie wrangler’s glee for the undead which generates the biggest laughs.

Reel Zombies proves that anyone can pick up a camera and have a go, and in that regard it has much to offer aspiring filmmakers, especially those armed with only a digital camera and a few friends. It’s a convincing film, though it’s hard to believe the zombie apocalypse would be quite that male orientated, but Reel Zombies proves the horror underground is alive and biting, with genuine and interesting films still being lovingly made. The camera work may be shoddy looking at best, but it’s an honest and important insight into Canada’s indie horror scene.


Dominic Cuthbert (@snack_dragon)

REEL ZOMBIES is available to stream or download NOW (UK only) at