Oh My Zombie! [オー・マイ・ゼット!] - Movie Review

oh-my-zombie!-movie-review

The zombie genre and films that stem from it have usually revolved around a simple formula consisting of a group of individuals attempting to survive amidst an army of the undead and as well as one another, often devolving into a Darwinistic tale of distrust, fear, and brutal violence. There is often minimal attempt to be comedic or lighthearted in these portrayals of survival, and considering the circumstances that the dire individuals find themselves in, it certainly makes sense. Yoshihiro Kamimoto's Oh My Zombie! delivers a different take on the genre mentioned above, bringing together a unique combination of comedy and horror that focus extensively on its characters rather than the zombie threat that surrounds them.

Taking place five years after the “Great Zombie Panic,” Oh My Zombie! is centered around the peaceful return to normality wherein individuals have once again started to live their lives free of the grasp of zombies. One day, out of the blue, a zombie suddenly appears and becomes unexpectedly trapped in a house. Six individuals who have seen the zombie, including the owners of the house, a factory owner, a young intern, a snarky high school student and a woman who believes that the trapped zombie is her husband, meet together to discuss how to deal with the zombie. We soon learn that each of them has a hidden agenda that is to be unveiled, and when they begin to chat about the trapped zombie, things become incredibly complicated.

Surprisingly for a film whose title and premise are based on undead, or in this case, one zombie, Oh My Zombie! appears to be more interested in the comedic conversations and conflicts between its human characters more so than any real attempt to rid the trapped zombie. Those going in expecting the blood-filled and chaotic action of Shinsuke Sato’s I Am a Hero (2015), for example, may be disappointed. Oddly, Oh My Zombie! does not even attempt that audacious level of violent zombie action, instead focusing on slowly unveiling the mysterious - and downright humorous - intentions and backgrounds of the collected group of human individuals. Each character has some relation or personal agenda with dealing with the zombie, and just the act of who would confront the zombie ends up being a large component of the film itself.

Director and writer Yoshihiro Kamimoto presents the narrative almost akin to a theatrical stage play in its direction. The ensemble of characters are confined for a significant amount of screen time to the living room of the house, working with and against one another to figure how to deal with a single zombie threat. By having the film confined in this manner, the environment becomes a great backdrop and emboldens the various moments of comedy that the film offers, similar to how family or friends may argue over the dinner table. The back and forth banter is where the film shines, with Kamimoto allowing the characters to each have time for us as viewers to explore their personalities and quirks, all of which inevitably collide as the film transpires. When the action does it occur towards the climax of the movie, it is also humorously depicted despite all the violence that is happening to and around the characters, with them bumbling, and often failing to effectively combat the zombie.

In essence, Oh My Zombie! is ultimately not a zombie film, even though its premise is that of the zombie genre. It is mainly about the comedic expressions and interactions that the characters experience and share between one another rather than any real time dedicated to fighting the zombie. Those looking for a darkly tragic and gory zombie film will find very little-to-none of that here, with Kamimoto instead establishing comical set pieces involving the narrative’s rag band group of characters. Those looking for a horror comedy set in an intimate environment will feel right at home with Oh My Zombie!, and in many ways, Kamimoto and company do an adequate job of providing a humorous twist and intimate twist in a genre that relies primarily on violence to get its point across.