Saturday, October 4, 2014

#1,510. Fido (2006)

Directed By: Andrew Currie

Starring: Kesun Loder, Billy Connolly, Carrie-Anne Moss

Tag line: "Good dead are hard to find"

Trivia: Carrie-Anne Moss's mother, Barbara Moss, has a few seconds on screen playing Helen Robinson's mom

Fido, a 2006 film directed by Andrew Currie, is an intriguing dark comedy set in a world that’s part Douglas Sirk (a ‘50s-era suburban neighborhood, a la All That Heaven Allows, where idyllic settings mask deep-rooted feelings of isolation, and repressed emotions are the norm) and part George Romero (there are zombies). Together, these seemingly opposing elements make for a sometimes funny, always interesting motion picture.

Several years ago, a radioactive cloud enveloped the earth, one that caused the recent dead to return to life and attack the living. Even now, the radiation remains strong, so, to keep people safe, the ZomCom Corporation patrols the streets, eliminating any and all potential zombie threats. But thanks to the efforts of one man, Dr. Hrothgar Geiger (Andy Parkin) of ZomCom, the undead “problem” has all but vanished. Having created a special collar that, when placed around a zombie’s neck, makes it lose its killer instinct, Dr. Geiger found a way to turn the cannibalistic walking dead into ideal domestic servants (they’ll mow your lawn, do your shopping, walk your dog, and what’s more, will never once ask you for a raise). Lamenting the fact that almost every other house on her block has a zombie, Helen Robinson (Carrie-Anne Moss) decides to “adopt” one of her own, even though her husband, Bill (Dylan Baker), has an intense fear of the undead that stretches back to his childhood. As for their son, Timmy (K’Sun Loder), he quickly takes a liking to his family’s newest addition, and affectionately nicknames him “Fido” (Billy Connolly). Before long, Tim and Fido are inseparable; taking strolls through the park and playing baseball in the front yard. But when Fido’s collar suddenly malfunctions, he once again becomes a flesh-crazed zombie, leading to a few mishaps that Timmy does his best to conceal. Unfortunately, with Mr. Bottoms (Henry Czerny), a top executive at ZomCom, living just across the street, keeping Fido’s “accidents” a secret isn’t going to be easy.

Fido establishes its bizarre reality early on by way of a ‘50s-style educational short titled “A Bright New World”, which covers everything from the zombie outbreak to the undead’s current role in society. This all may seem very strange to us, but the people in Timmy’s neighborhood have come to accept zombies as a necessary part of their lives. Its undead population aside, the community in which the Robinsons live is picturesque, with one beautiful home after another, each featuring a perfectly groomed front yard. Yet while the neighborhood’s outward appearance is near-perfect, its citizens are anything but. The Robinson’s neighbor, Mr. Theopolis (Tim Blake Nelson), has a pretty young zombie named Tammy (Sonja Bennett) who basically serves as his sex slave, while Helen Robinson obsesses over her family’s image (when Timmy tells her that two school bullies knocked him down and pointed a rifle at him, she’s not so much concerned with her son’s well-being as she is the fact that someone might have seen him in such a compromising position). Like most working men in this town, Mr. Robinson is very conservative, and more than a little repressed (when his wife kisses his cheek, he chastises her for her “impropriety”). This eventually leads to some friction between husband and wife, and causes a sexually frustrated Helen to sit up and notice the only other “man” in her life: Fido.

As for the zombies, they’re responsible for much of the film’s humor, and all of its horror. There are a handful of big laughs in Fido; one of my favorites being a television commercial, where a young girl whose grandfather has just “turned” looks into the camera and says “Oh no! Grandpa fell down and he’s getting back up!” While the laughs are certainly more prevalent than the scares, Fido has its share of blood and gore (several people are mauled throughout the movie, by Fido as well as a few others). Billy Connolly gives a masterful performance as the title character, which, despite being dead, is more alive than many of his human counterparts. Even the make-up is top-notch (Tammy, the young blonde zombie belonging to Mr. Theopolis, looks pretty darn good for a dead girl).

A well-acted, intelligently written movie with an excellent musical score (drawing inspiration from old-time Hollywood, composer Don McDonald brings just the right mood to every scene), Fido is a comedy that doesn’t shy away from social commentary, and a horror film that’s more than your standard zombie fare.

1 comment:

Peter Nielsen said...

Excellent choice, Dave! This is a great little movie!