Fido (2007) dir. Andrew Currie
Starring: Dylan Baker, Carrie Ann Moss, Billy Connolly, Henry Czerny, K'Sun Ray
Fido is a fabulous new zombie comedy about a tamed zombie who is bought by a humble suburban family to do household chores but ends up developing a brotherly relationship with their young son. Though there will be inevitable comparisons to “Shaun of the Dead”, “Fido” earns its own place in this new sub-sub genre of horror films.
The opening monologue is hilarious. The masculine and guttural voice of a 1950’s radio announcer explains the backstory in the style of a classic newsreel. Instead of a World War, Earth, in this fictional world fought a “zombie war” against a zombie infestation. A company called Zomcon was able to tame the zombies with a collar around their necks. With this device zombies became robotlike servants available to ordinary families to do their daily chores.
One day Helen Robinson (Carrie Ann Moss) surprises her husband, Bill (Dylan Baker) with a new zombie (Billy Connolly) for the home. Their young boy Timmy makes friends with the zombie and names him Fido. Fido performs his tasks well, but Bill is still suspect of his presence. Painful memories of the Zombie War are brought back which causes a disruption in the family. Fido is watched carefully by the neighbourhood skeptic Mr. Theopolis (Tim Blake Nelson) and one of the Zomcom executives (Henry Czerny) for fear that Timmy and Fido’s relationship might result in another potential zombie-outbreak.
“Fido” is foremost a deadpan comedy. Everything in the film, no matter how ridiculous is played straight. Director Currie assembles a perfect ensemble cast to play the roles. Carrie Ann Moss is the perfect homemaker-next-door, Dylan Baker is the classic suburban conservative father, Henry Czerny, as always, play his bad guy role with evil menace, and K'Sun Ray is gawky enough to play the curious Timmy. Henry Czerny, who doesn’t get enough good work as far I’m concerned, is the stand out.
Parodying the dull 1950’s suburban lifestyle is nothing new, but when combined with the absurd revisionist history Currie and co-writer Robert Chomiak create with the zombies, it’s downright hilarious. Even when I wasn’t laughing out loud there was a constant smile on my face. “Fido” could have overstayed its welcome and become a one-joke comedy, but Currie actually creates a warm relationship between Timmy and Fido. Though Billy Connolly doesn’t have any lines, his head tilts express just enough emotion to keep us interested.
The film, shot by DOP Jan Kiesser, looks fantastic as well. The film has a beautiful 2:35:1 widescreen frame, bright saturated colours and great use of the B.C. landscape. Composer Don MacDonald produces a top notch Elmer Bernstein-esque score and complements the heightened recreation of the period perfectly.
“Fido” manages to find surprisingly clever metaphors between zombies and the paranoia of the 1950’s - the fear of losing jobs to mechanical automation, the communist scare, and the need to keep up with the Jones. But the heart of the film is the relationship between boy and zombie. It’s like “Slingblade”, meets “E.T.”, meets “Lassie” meets "Night of the Living Dead". I’m sure that made an awesome pitch. Please check this film out. Enjoy
Buy it here: Fido