SXSW 2014: DOC OF THE DEAD Review

5

Film Pulse Score

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Release Date: TBD
Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
MPAA Rating: NR

Through various interviews with some of the genres top stars, Doc of the Dead chronicles the triumphant rise in zombie popularity, and explores the reasons behind one of the biggest trends in horror.  By covering movies, games, comics, TV shows, and things like zombie walks, this film aims to be the ultimate guide in the undead phenomenon.  Unfortunately, it ends up spreading itself too thin, and simply doesn’t go deep enough into the subject matter.  For zombie fans, there won’t be anything in here that isn’t already common knowledge, but it’s still a solidly entertaining film about one of my personal favorite genres.

Doc of the Dead focuses on the films that were responsible for spawning the zombie craze, by discussing the classics like Romero’s Dead series, Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive, and of course, Shaun of the Dead.  The filmmakers were fortunate enough to snag interviews with some of the big players of these films including Simon Pegg, Bruce Campbell and the godfather of all things zombie, George Romero.  These films proved to be integral in the zombie uprising so it seems only natural to start there, but we all know zombie are everywhere so the movie delves into the other facets of zombie culture as well.

It talks about The Walking Dead comic book and TV show with creator Robert Kirkman, it very briefly talks about video games like Resident Evil, and it looks at the concept of a real zombie apocalypse.  The TV, comic, and video game sections felt too glossed over, given that they make up such a large portion of the genre, but the discussions of a real zombie outbreak prove to be some of the most interesting aspects of the film.  Scientists and doctors are interviewed and discuss the likelihood of a real epidemic and talk about what might happen in real life.  Not only are these discussions fascinating, but also terrifying to think about.

The zombie fad is one that just proves to be too big for one feature length documentary, and while Doc of the Dead covers all the basics, it simply can’t fit everything in.  That being said, they clearly did the best they could given the time constraints, and short of a PBS Ken Burns series, this is the most definitive guide we’ll get.

For zombie fanatics, Doc of the Dead won’t expose you to new movies or games that you didn’t already know about, but it’s worth watching just because it’s about zombies.  The theories behind the boom in zombie popularity are interesting, and the lineup of interviewees is impressive.  If you like zombie movies or games (and why wouldn’t you?) this one is a no-brainer.