Suspension of Disbelief: Wasting Away (aka Aaah! Zombies!!)
Suspension of Disbelief is a weekly feature, in which we review movies, books, TV shows, and other popular culture for the skeptical teen.
Movie Title: Wasting Away (aka Aaah! Zombies!!)
Genre: Comedy Horror
Director: Matthew Kohnen
Writers: Matthew Kohnen and Sean Kohnen
Starring: Matthew Davis, Julianna Robinson, Michael Grant Terry and Betsy Beutler
Review: First, I should say that I am not a fan of zombie movies. Oh, sure, I’ve seen 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, but those movies were watched during the day, with company, and with all the lights on. (Zombies can’t get you if you’re with a gaggle of friends, right? Right?!?) What drives me away from zombie movies is the same thing that drives me away from classic vampire movies: I’m not a blood and gore person. As far as I’m concerned, my insides can stay my insides, and so can everybody else’s.
But Wasting Away (or Aaah! Zombies!!, which was the title I saw it under) is a zombie movie for those who are, shall we say, a little less tolerant of blood and guts.
That is not to say that there isn’t its fair share of gross. The main protagonists scalp is perpetually falling off to expose his brain, and there is rotting skin out the yin yang. But it is first and foremost a comedy, and that comes through.
Wasting Away begins in a common fashion: government glow-y green goo makes its way into the public, ultimately infecting four hapless friends in a bowling alley. But what makes this movie worth mentioning – and I think worth watching – is the way in which it’s shot.
The movie begins in black and white, with the only color being the green glow-y goo. But when the four main characters and infected, the film goes to color. Otherwise, nothing else changes. You soon realize that when the film is in color, you are watching from the newly-infected zombies point of view. When the film is in black and white, we are seeing the world through the eyes of the uninfected. The undead protagonists don’t know they are zombiefied; to them, they are just going along as normal.
This, of course, cannot last. Eventually they find out what has happened and run away as fast as their undead legs can carry them. Hijinks ensues.
The movie is humorous enough, if a bit sophomoric at times (when the obligatory love story comes to head, a certain zombie penis, we are told, falls off). But I was sometimes left with an awkward feeling. I was never sure if the film was meant as an homage to the genre, á la Shaun of the Dead, or if it was an earnest zombie comedy in its own right; affectionate satire or genuine camp. I’ve been thinking about it for a few days, and I’m still not sure.
But in the end, it doesn’t matter too much. If you’re looking for a scare, this is not the movie for you. However, if you want a fun movie with a clever concept, and not a bad way to kill 90 minutes on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Featured image credit: YouTube