In the brain and not the chest, Fido
head shots are the very best!
is a 2006 comedy film directed by Andrew Currie and produced by Lions Gate Entertainment.
In an Alternate History
version of the 1950s
, cosmic radiation has initiated a Zombie Apocalypse
. And while the bulk of the infestation has been dealt with, the lingering radiation means that anyone that dies eventually rises again as a zombie. To help maintain order, a company called Zomcon comes into power, fencing in safe communities from the heavily infested "Wild Zone", and develops a containment device to curb the remaining zombie's flesh-eating urges. With the device in place, the zombies provide a cheap source of manual labor (but if the collar is ever switched off...
The story begins when status-conscious homemaker Helen Robinson purchases a zombie in order to save face in front of new neighbors the Bottoms, of whom Johnathan works as chief of security for Zomcon. This causes friction with her husband Bill, who hates zombies as a result of his experiences in the Zombie Wars, but son Timmy-who happens to be something of an outcast at school-quickly befriends their new acquisition, whom he names "Fido."
All goes well until a mishap with Fido's collar causes him to attack and kill the Robinson's neighbor, Mrs. Henderson; Timmy manages to re-kill her and dispose of her body, but not in time to prevent the deaths and reanimation of several other people in the neighborhood. Now Timmy must try to keep Fido's actions under wraps while dealing with increasing scrutiny by Zomcon and growing friction between his parents.
The film has received generally positive reviews (Rotten Tomatoes
currently has it at a 71% "Certified Fresh" rating) and provides a good mix of humor, violence, and Shout Outs
to various aspects of zombie culture.
This movie provides examples of:
- A Boy and His X: A boy and his pet zombie. Timmy's blossoming friendship with Fido not only helps him become more sociable and strong willed, but eventually strengthens his entire family's bond as well.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Johnathan Bottoms is willing to do nearly anything to protect Zomcon's interests, to the point where he throws Timmy into the Wild Zone after he causes a minor outbreak in Zomcon headquarters while looking for Fido.
- Cosy Catastrophe
- The Dead Can Dance: Helen and Fido share a rather romantic dance.
- Jerkass Victim: Mrs. Henderson, who likes to spy on people and order Timmy around.
- Karma Houdini: Timmy, as mentioned above. Although to be fair he's hardly the only one to blame, and he does feel guilt about his part in the mayhem.
- To be fair, even Timmy realizes he and Fido were responsible for the deaths of many innocents, he even feels bad about being a Karma Houdini by using two (near) successful cover ups.
- Kids Are Cruel: The two Zomscouts, who not only bully Timmy but plan to kill him by removing Fido's collar, then being "heroes" by putting down Fido.
- Lack of Empathy: With the Zombie Apocalypse, society seems to be a lot more callous. The local zombie war veteran tells his wife that he would put a bullet in her if she were to die; Timmy's mother (at the start of the movie anyway) is quite transparent about caring more about social standings and what is considered normal than Timmy's well-being and even the hero cares more about keeping Fido than the fact he (both Fido and him indirectly) have killed dozens of innocent people. Though to be fair, it is the end of the world, and multiple characters warn others off of getting too close to people in case they turn.
- A Running Gag is that you "Can't Trust the Elderly" because they are prone to dying unexpectedly.
- Nec Romantic: Mr. Theopolis is in love with his zombie, a still relatively fresh young woman, and does things with her that are... *cough*
- Also, there's a lot of romantic tension in the air between Helen and Fido, who while dead, is a lot more alive than her husband.
- Our Zombies Are Different:
- Anyone that dies during or after the Zombie Wars automatically rises up as a zombie, no matter the cause of death. Newly-risen zombies are collected, collared, and sold by Zomcon as menial labor; for those that can afford the high price tag, Zomcon offers full, reanimation-proof funeral services (complete with "head coffin"), but as Mr. Robinson notes, only about 10% of the population can actually afford this treatment. With the collars, zombies are mostly mindless, but can retain some traits from their pre-mortem existences (Fido still has a thing for cigarettes, for example), and can still eat or drink normal food even though they no longer require it to survive. Without the collars, a zombie will attack and devour a human on sight unless they were already friendly with one another, as with Fido and Timmy.
- Unlike many other zombie movies, a zombie bite does not seem to inevitably result in death (the Romero zombie movies, in which people who died of any cause rose again even if never bitten, nonetheless went by the "a bite is fatal" rule, having invented it in the first place). While not directly stated, the very much alive Mr. Theopolis is seen to bear several scars on his chest that likely came from his girlfriend.
- Papa Wolf: Timmy's Jerkass dad turns into one at the end, facing his incredible fear of zombies to go and find his son.
- Paranoia Fuel: In-universe example with people at risk for heart attacks, aneurysms or other health conditions that cause unpredictable death, as reanimation occurs almost immediately after death.
- Redemption Equals Death: Mr. Robinson, established as a Jerkass almost from the get-go, dies trying to prove that he is a good father by saving his son from Bottoms.
- Refuge in Audacity: What makes the movie so funny.
- Restraining Bolt: The collars keep zombies docile and obedient.
- Stepford Smiler: Most of the living characters, to varying degrees.
- Stepford Suburbia: The entire setting.
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror
- Timmy in a Well: Played practically word-for-word, just with a zombie rather than a dog.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Happened pre-movie.