New Horror Releases: ZBurbs (2017) - Reviewed

I didn’t think I’d be talking about the population explosion in the 1950’s so soon, but here I am again. This time, it’s for Greg Zekowski’s zany ZBurbs

All is quiet and not a creature is stirring, except for the zombie that has invaded Suburbia. Shelly (Marieh Delfino) is working temp jobs to barely make ends meet and her stay-at-home husband, Bill (Ian Alda) is ready to redo the paint job in their rental home when a zombie attacks Bill in the middle of the night, thus zombifying him. 

As the bodies start stacking up, Shelly and Bill, who doesn’t seem to have the same zombified characteristics as other zombies, come up with a plan to keep Bill fed and Shelly safe from the law. Charlie (Gabe Greenspan) is a conspiracy theorist who just happens to have answers to fit this whacky puzzle. Carrie Teller (Courtney Scheuerman) is also along for this adventure.

From the opening credit roll through the witty dialogue, Mr. Zekowski’s script has all the right tension of a horror film, but plays very much like a comedy. He’s given the characters enough to do, and has a whacky enough sense of humor to balance the horror with the humor to make a unique independent film unlike I’ve seen in a while. 

The key to this is that the humor arrests the more gruesome aspects and neither feels forced. Supporting characters that lend credence to the narrative help. Dan Copland as a miserly landlord gets some laughs in while Clint Carmichael steals the show as Agent Baxter. The real surprise though is Gina Hecht as Agent Morse, a solider to the end. 

Mr. Zekowski’s features work has primarily been focused on second-unit stunt work, and that serves the action this film required. Christian Sebaldt’s cinematography was confined mostly to their home, which was covered in plastic, so a lot of the camera work was diffused. It made for an interesting and satisfying look. 

Lauel Wetzel should be nominated for an Oscar for her makeup work here. Despite the fact that there’s not a lot of blood, the bites she does manage to layer on the cast are a work of art. Finally, Alex Geringas’ score plays very nicely in to the comedy motif. He makes his brass section come alive with jazzy riffs. The level of work and confidence Mr. Zekowski has in his script is evident. It looked like a big-Hollywood feature film, and not a film that was probably shot with the most limited of budgets. Booyah, Mr. Zekowski. Check out ZBurbs on VOD. 

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-Ben Cahlamer