Plot: Years ago, the Earth passed through a cloud of space dust that caused the dead to rise again. Now, zombies are domesticated. When Helen (Moss) brings a zombie servant (Connolly) home, her son Timmy (Ray) discovers a new best friend, and is determined to keep him - even if he does eat the odd person...
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Since we’ve discovered we are big fans of zombie comedies after watching Shaun of the Dead (2004), we knew we were going to have to check out Fido at some point. Due to the fine line between a funny zombie comedy and another Scary Movie, we decided to wait for this one to hit DVD before checking it out. But, would this be a barrel of laughs draped in gory goodness, or does this film belong in the doghouse?
Billy Connolly gives a hilarious performance as a zombie in Fido. While he doesn’t get to utter even one line, he puts a lot of emphasis into his grunts, and his looks are worth a thousand words. When he eyes Carrie-Anne Moss as she makes her way down the sidewalk, the viewer knows exactly what’s going through his mind – and Carrie-Anne’s character does too. It’s great fun to see this British actor grunt his way through a picture, and he makes the film worth seeing all by himself.
The other characters also jump into the zombie fun with a lightheartedness that really makes the viewer think they love working on the film. Whether it’s Carrie-Anne Moss’ character dancing up a storm with Fido, Henry Czerny’s zombie war-obsessed local celeb, or Tim Blake Nelson’s former ZomCom employee who has a bit too much affection for his zombie, they all do their part to make the film a laugh riot.
Even K’Sun Ray, the new kid on the block (literally, since this is his first starring movie role) does a good job. While he’s a bit pathetic at times, the audience can understand what Fido sees in him, and it’s fun to watch their relationship grow. Oh, and the fact the zombie is more emotional than the kid’s own father tends to help toss even this relationship on a comedy slant.
The plot seems a bit far-fetched at first. A comet brings radiation to Earth that makes the dead rise. After a fierce war, the living were able to domesticate the zombies, and now use them in menial labor jobs: mowing the lawn, carrying boxes – they even have two that stand at the entrance to the town and welcome visitors with a wave! Oh yeah, and it’s set in what looks to be the 50’s and the radiation has hung around, so that anyone who dies can become a zombie unless they are buried separately from their head. Sounds strange, right? That’s Fido in a nutshell.
It is strange, but Fido abounds with quirky comedy. From the zany tasks the zombies are given (including the aforementioned “greeters”) to the 50’s style propaganda video the producer of “domesticated” zombies hands out to classrooms, the hilarity is everywhere. As in most zombie comedies, however, there’s a catch: the zombies are only domesticated thanks to a collar they were around their neck. The collar stops working, the zombies start looking around for a human to snack on.
And then there’s the hilarious references to Lassie, everyone’s favorite canine. With a boy named Timmy, there has to be at least one Lassie reference, and the filmmakers play that to the hilt when Fido is directing Timmy’s mother to where 2 boys have tied up Timmy. The viewer will keep expecting the mother to say “What’s that? Timmy’s fallen down the well?”, but the filmmakers never go that far. Instead, it’s more of a feeling of imitating the Lassie concept, rather than copying it exactly.
Of course, Fido isn’t all fun and games. There are a few moments of gore tossed in, although they are done in such a way that they are funnier than they are frightening. While it’s difficult to pull off comedy while a zombie chows down on another human being, the filmmakers (like those in the ultra-hilarious My Boyfriend’s Back (1993)) manage to pull it off. That’s partially thanks to some intentionally cheesy special effects, as the less the viewer sees realistic gore, the more the filmmakers can keep the viewers tuned in to the comedy aspect of the film.
While Fido may have gotten overlooked by many during the busy summer movie season, it shouldn’t be missed on DVD. Filled with hilarious bits mixed with a semi-heartwarming story about a boy and his zombie, Fido should be on your must-see list if you’re a fan of previous zombie comedies like Shaun of the Dead (2004) or My Boyfriend’s Back (1993).
Rent this one today, because Fido is a true zombie comedy gem.