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Film / Z-O-M-B-I-E-S

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"I'm not a monster, I'm a Zombie. You're a cheerleader."

Z-O-M-B-I-E-S is a 2018 Disney Channel Original Movie. The film premiered on Disney Channel on February 16, 2018. The film stars Meg Donnelly and Milo Manheim.

Z-O-M-B-I-E-S follows students from Zombietown who transfer to Seabrook High, a school whose suburban town is filled with uniformity, traditions and pep rallies. When Zombie football player Zed and human cheerleader Addison fall in love, chaos ensues, and the two must lead their groups' to coexistence with each other. Sound familiar?

Not to be confused with Zombies, another title for the 2006 movie Wicked Little Things.

In February of 2019, a sequel was greenlit, and premiered February 14, 2020. The sequel picks up at Seabrook High, where, after a groundbreaking semester, Zed and Addison continue to steer both their school and community toward unity. But the arrival of a new group of outsiders – mysterious werewolves – threatens to shake up the newfound peace and causes a rift in Zed and Addison’s budding romance.


Z-O-M-B-I-E-S provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Addison's. Though not as bad as some, they do shame her into believing she has to hide who she is down to her natural hair color and be just like everyone else.
  • Actor Allusion: Carla Jeffery (Bree) was a real cheerleader in high school.
    • Also, this isn't the first zombie movie Tony Nappo(Zevon) starred in. He played Foxy in Land of the Dead (2005).
    • It's also not the first zombie movie for Emilia Mc Carthy(Lacey) either, playing Lauren in Bunks (2013). Her two characters even have the same initial.
  • Adult Fear:
    • It's a common worry that your children won't fit in or be accepted by their peers, though Addie's parents take it to extremes of making her tie her sense of self worth to other's opinions.
    • The werewolves in the second movie are worried about their pack dying out, with their elders already incapacitated. Not to mention Addison's father gasses them with colloidal silver in "Flesh and Bone".
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  • Aerith and Bob: Zedekiah is a real name. Not sure about Bonzo however, unless one means Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Those who actually care about Addison can be identified by calling her "Addie".
  • After the End: The movie is set after a Zombie Apocalypse came and went and society got rebuilt. Granted it seems to have done less damage than most instances, but it has apparently been two generations in universe and technology hasn't advanced much past where we are now.
  • Advertising by Association: This film is marketed as by the creators of Descendants. Doing an IMDb search on this movie will show that this is not true.
  • Almost Kiss:
    • Zed and Addison almost kiss each other in the zombie light garden; the moment is ruined when the zombies are caught skipping their curfue.
    • Done again in Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2. This time, they were stopped by an earthquake which leads to the moonstone.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The werewolves' necklaces in Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2. They contain their power source, and unless they use a moonstone to recharge them, they will die.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Zevon has this reaction when he learns that Zed has been messing with his Z-band to win games
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: This definitely isn't the first time Hollywood has made zombies the result of a nuclear meltdown, but as Chernobyl and Fukushima has taught us, radiation poisoning will KILL you, rather than turn you into a deranged cannibal. This is understandably why Ukrainians HATE "Chernobyl Diaries". Arguably, this may be why the sequel attempts to recton this by revealing the that energy source involved was the mystical energy of the werewolves' Moonstone.
  • Artistic License – Sports: Sparklers are likely not allowed at indoor prep rallies as an ACTUAL fire risk.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Seabrook High loses the cheer competition, but both humans and zombies have reconciled and are now interacting freely with each other.
  • Black Best Friend: Bree to Addison. Also Eliza to Zed and Bonzo.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Zed and Addison both talk to the audience.
  • Break the Haughty: Bucky naturally has to undergo this before his Heel–Face Turn.
  • But Your Wings Are Beautiful: Zed thinks Addison's "freakish" white hair is beautiful.
  • The Cheerleader: According to Eliza, cheerleaders are monsters.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: It's most noticeable in the sets and costumes but the human citizens of Seabrook are in pastel hues of pink, blue, and lilac. The zombie citizens are dressed in darker shades of red, green and navy.
  • Dance of Romance: Someday.
  • Dance Party Ending: The Cheer Championships and the Block Party. Also the Prawn in the sequel.
  • Dark Secret: Addison has white hair. She was born with it, and there is no way to get it out. Since nobody at Seabrook High accepts differences, Addison has to wear a blonde wig to hide it.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Bucky claims he thought of everything when reverting the zombies from peaceful vegetarians back into cannibalistic ghouls and thus turning the entire school against them...except how to defend himself and his assistant captains from said cannibalistic ghouls.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Addison when she introduces herself at the beginning.
    Addison: I have crushed cheer summer after cheer summer of cheer camp.
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number:
    • "Stand", which is sung by Addison as she no longer wants to hide her real self and reveals her white hair, taking place just before the major conflict of the film is resolved.
    • Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2 has two of them. First is "Flesh and Bone", as everyone tries to convince Zed's dad from destroying the energy plant. The second is the Softer and Slower Cover of "Someday" as Zed and Addison dance at Prawn, just before the big climax of retrieving the moonstone.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Addison trying to speak Zombie Tongue. The words come out right, but she ends up saying "thanks for rubbing peanut butter on my umbrella". Done again in the second movie, when Wyatt brings her to the den and she attempts to say hi in werewolf, but is very much off the mark both times.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Zed playing puppy with his little sister because Zombies aren't allowed to have pets.
  • Expository Hairstyles: Used as a plot point for Addison.
  • Extranormal Prison: Zombie Containment.
  • Falling into His Arms: Addison into Zed's during the pep rally.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: Between Addison and Zed in the zombie safe room, set to the song “Someday”.
  • Fascists' Bed Time: All Zombies live under a curfew mandated by law.
  • Fantastic Ghetto: Zombie Town.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans are quite discriminatory towards zombies, which admittedly does make a degree of sense given the past, but is willfully ignoring the improvements made through science.
  • First Girl Wins: Goes both ways: Addison is the first human girl that Zed meets and in turn Zed is the first zombie guy that Addison meets. Addison is also, coincidentally, the first girl introduced.
  • Foreshadowing: "Never swipe to the right, that'll corrupt the software."
  • Freaky Is Cool: The primary Aesop.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Turns out Zoey is the only one Bucky will listen to.
  • Future Slang: Zombies have their own language called "Zombie Tongue", which kind of makes sense after two generations of being cut off from most of sentient society.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Eliza is very tech savvy, showing an interest in computer coding club. She even builds an explosive device that she plans to set off during the cheer finals though Zed and Bonzo quickly talk her out of it.
  • Gilligan Cut: Type 1. Zed: "We're in a real school. No more classes in a dingy basement." Scene cut to a makeshift classroom in a dingy basement.
    Eliza: (sarcastically flat)You were saying?
  • Girlish Pigtails: Zed's sister Zoey wears her hair in pigtails.
  • Good Parents: Zed's family, and Eliza's mom.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Bucky, Tracey, Stacey, and Lacey all undergo one at the end.
  • Heel Realization: Even after a period of feeling conflicted, Bucky refuses to repent of his bigotry and is left alone with no-one during the big finale. Then Zoey, a little zombie girl, goes over to him and tells him how much she admires him. This display of innocence and compassion demolishes all of Bucky's defenses and prejudices, and he pulls a Heel–Face Turn, joining in on the dance alongside Zoey.
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: Addison sings "Stand" as she decides to no longer hide her true self, culminating in her shedding her blonde wig revealing her unusually natural white hair.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Played With: Obviously the word cannibal isn't exactly G-rated, even though they used it in Toy Story. In his introduction, Zed himself even admits it was "dark and gory times." Fortunately, the zombies have been able to abolish long as their wristbands are stable.
  • Innocent Bigot: Addison has a few moments making offensive Zombie jokes, but it's no where near as extreme as a lot of examples.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong:
    • Zed goes on for a little bit about how he was wrong about Addison. Two seconds later, she sneaks away to see him.
    • The Pep Rally Scene
    Addison: Of course Zed's not coming. I mean, Zombies at a pep rally would be serious drama.
    Bree: There are Zombies at the pep rally!
    Addison smiles like a little kid and runs to see.
  • Interspecies Romance: A Girl And A Zombie
  • It's All About Me: Bucky's primary concern seems to be that actually accepting zombies into society will detract from his importance.
  • "I Want" Song: "My Year", as Zed and Addison express their goals they want to accomplish.
  • Jerkass: Bucky and Principal Lee
  • Karma Houdini: Bucky and the Aceys receive absolutely no punishments for exposing the zombies' true forms and inadvertently almost getting their brains eaten. Lampshaded by Eliza a while later.
    • Bucky also becomes school president in the sequel, getting off scot-free for his fear-mongering campaign against Zed, although in this case Zed did admittedly dig his own grave in more ways than one.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The choices of clothes for the residents of Seabrook are limited to only pastel blue and pink. This is because Seabrook doesn’t accept anything different.
  • Love at First Punch: How Addison and Zed meet. To be fair it was a fear reflex, and she even apologized for it.
  • Love Confession: Gar-garziga
  • Meaningful Name: "Zed" rhymes with "dead." Also, it's a real name, short for "Zedekiah", the last king of Judah. His last name however suggests a Greek heritage.
    • A buck is a male deer who protects his herd from predators. It also means a spirited, young male.
  • Meganekko: Bree appears to be the only character that wears glasses onscreen.
  • Missing Mom: Zed and Zoey are raised by their dad and there's no mention of what happened to their mother.
  • Mr. Exposition: Zed and Addison explain Seabrooks ideals, how the zombie outbreak started, and everything that ensued fifty years later in their opening narratives.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Zed swipes right at exactly the wrong moment to let the cheerleaders who stole Eliza's computer past her fire wall.
    • In the sequel: Zed's gradiose gesture to ask Allison to the Prawn backfires when it ends up revealing that the werewolves have returned, which causes the Mayor to reinstate the anti-Monsters laws, preventing him (and all of the other zombies) from going to the Prawn.
  • Noble Bigot: While the underlying reason for his bigotry against zombies is selfish, Bucky does genuinely believe zombies are dangerous and wants to protect his cousin Addison from them. He starts to feel conflicted about his views after Zed resists his instincts to kill Bucky while in full zombie mode, which Bucky himself caused him to regress into, and has a complete change of heart after being shown kindness from Zoey despite everything he's done.
  • No Name Given: Other than Principal Lee, the cast list doesn't show last names for any of the characters, though Zed's last name is revealed to be "Necropolis" at one point. None of the parents' FIRST names are spoken either.
  • Not So Different: Bucky and Eliza, with their prejudice toward one another's race being partly legitimate and partly selfishly motivated. It's even more apparent in the final dance number, where the two of them actually dance together.
  • Oh, Crap!: The cheerleaders react like this when they realize they don't know how to protect themselves against the zombie attack they just caused.
  • One Head Taller: Zed is noticeably taller than Addison.
  • One Man's Trash Is Another's Treasure: Zombie Town is entirely made out of the garbage and ruined buildings left behind after the outbreak. The locals still find ways of making it beautiful.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • This being a Disney movie, the zombie outbreak as caused by a spill of lime soda at a power plant (which, according to the sequel, got mixed in with a strange power) and affecting people with a green noxious haze, ensuing in each victim being a Technically Living Zombie.
    • There are also different generations of zombies that weren't alive during the initial outbreak, meaning that children are born as zombies.
    • The zombies are also shown with pale white skin and green hair that makes them all look like The Joker with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.
    • Thanks to special bracelets created by the government, zombies are able to stay sane and lead relatively normal lives without craving brains.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending: How the movie ends.
  • Pink Is Feminine: Half of Addison's outfits worn onscreen are pink. The rest of them are blue
  • Popularity Food Chain: This particular food chain goes like this:
    • Cheer Squad/Human Athletes
    • Human Kids
    • Nerds/Oddballs
    • Zombies
  • Primal Fear: All Zombies are afraid of fire, though Bonzo seems to have it more than most.
  • Profiling: In keeping with the movies Fantastic Racism / Anvilicious Themes, police automatically assume all Zombies are a danger to humans. So does everyone else, but this trope is more focused on cops.
  • Protest Song: "Flesh & Bone" from the sequel, as Addison, the zombies and werewolves protest the demolition of the energy plant.
  • Put on a Bus: Tracey does not appear in the sequel, having been replaced by new Acey K.C.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The people of Seabrook hate anything that’s different. Because of this, Addison is forced to wear a blonde wig over her unusually natural white hair in the company of others, or she’ll never be allowed to cheer.
    • The Seabrook cheer squad is able to pull off a decent last minute performance given that they had a rough start, and most of the kids weren't in uniform, but they lose the competition.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Given that the primary road to popularity is through cheerleading, most of the male human students ware pink or pale blue or other traditionally feminine colors, because of Seabrook's anti-difference law.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Coach becomes this after getting the nerve to add Zed to the team.
  • Restraining Bolt: Although likely unintentional,a similar idea was used in "Fido"; a shock collar that control a zombie's gruesome diet. But one must be cautious that the band/collar is NEVER turned off, even accidentally.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: The zombies have this aesthetic with their clothes and living space, but it's partly justified as they have to make do with the government-regulated coveralls and they don't have the means to go out and buy anything new anyway.
  • Sadistic Choice: Addison's fellow cheerleaders give her one after she's seen interacting with Zed and the other Zombies: Either she can be friends with the zombies (who Addison has been realizing are pretty good people), or she can be a cheerleader (her dream since she was a little kid). Addison tries to take a third option by pretending to snub Zed in public while seeing him in private. The results are a bit mixed.
    • Bucky is on the receiving end of a rare heroic version after his anti-zombie zealotry has left the cheer squad in shambles on the day of the cheer championship. As the cheerleaders and zombies join together to salvage Seabrook's entry in the championship, little Zoey offers him the chance to be a cheerleader again... that he can only take if he lets go of his hatred of zombies. He picks the former.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Eliza has plenty of sass. Averted with Bree, who's more of a Shrinking Violet
  • Sequel Hook: Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2 ends with Addison witnessing a blue meteor falling from the sky which causes her radio to short out, and her hair briefly glows the same color as the meteor.
  • Shaming the Mob: The scene surrounding I'm Gonna Stand
  • She Cleans Up Nicely:
    • Gender averted example. Zed shows up at Addison's home for their homecoming date dressed in a nice suit and impressing her parents. It's also played with and Lampshaded by Addison as he was also able to pass as human by putting his health at risk swiping his Z-band.
    • Played straight with Addison when she appears at the Dance Party Ending with her natural hair in full glory and wearing a red dress.
  • Ship Tease: Bree and Bonzo have some of this during the cheer competition.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Even though the movie takes place in a high school environment, not once do we see anybody going to class.
  • Show, Don't Tell: There's a lot of emphasis on uniformity in Seabrook, and Addison explains that making the cheer squad is the most guaranteed way to fit in, but there aren't many examples on what would make someone not fit in other than being a zombie and not being a cheerleader or an athlete.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Bucky says to Addison that there's no room for idealism on cheer squad, at least in regard to zombies.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Addison quickly falls for nice-guy Zed. Also possibly Bree for Bonzo if their interactions are anything to go by.
  • Softer and Slower Cover: "Someday" returns in a slower, more seductive manner as Addison and Zed bond during their trip through the zombie light garden. Returns in Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2 as they are dancing at Prawn.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Zed and Addison.
  • Stepford Smiler: Seabrook was like this before the outbreak. Now the facade is starting to crack under the pent up feelings.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Eliza, the tomboy zombie, and Addison, the girly-girl cheerleader.
  • Theme Naming:
    • All of the zombie characters have names with Zs in them.
    • The members of Bucky's primary posse: Tracey, Stacey, and Lacey have rhyming names.
    • The werewolf characters have names that start with W.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The "perfect" plan to get rid of the Zombies and convince everyone they're dangerous? Just turn off the devices keeping them sane. Just one quick thing though. How exactly were you planning on surviving the ensuing bloodbath?
  • Training Montage: Zed gets a brief one during his introduction explaining his plans to try out for football.
  • True Blue Femininity: Addison's introductory scene shows her wearing a powder blue dress for the first day of school. A later scene has her dressed in a matching jacket and pants outfit in a similar shade.
  • Two-Teacher School: The only members of Seabrook Highs faculty are Principal Lee, the football coach, and the unnamed zombie janitor turned chemistry teacher
  • Uptown Girl: Addison, being the mayor's daughter, is this for Zed.
  • What You Are in the Dark: In Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2, when Zed returns the necklace the werewolves gave Addison and she assumes he just found it, he could've played along with her assumption but decides to admit he stole it when she wasn't looking.
  • With Us or Against Us: Bucky makes Addison choose between either being a cheerleader like she always wanted or being with Zed. He later bans anyone with zombie symbols from the cheerleading squad.
    • Addison and the zombies throw one back at him when they try to force him choose to either accept both zombies and change or lose the game, but he refuses to.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: Eliza is so certain Addison will try to talk her out of sabotaging the cheerleading competition, it takes some time for her to realize Addison encouraged her.
  • World of Jerkass: Clearly Eliza's perspective. She isn't entirely wrong, though her proposed solution only threatens to make things worse.
  • World of No Grandparents: There aren't any elderly characters, human or zombie, seen on screen.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: Zombietown is where all zombies are forced to live. Zed uses the track metaphor during a song early in the movie.
  • Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal: Zed burns Bucky this way in Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2, during a rap battle/presidential debate:
    Bucky: You eat brains.
    Zed: Well, if I did, you haven't got one, so you'd be safe.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: The werewolves have to charge their necklaces every 100 years otherwise they'll die; them coughing constantly as their amulets glow green serves as a warning that their time is almost up.

Video Example(s):



"BAMM" is the iconic theme song from the Disney Channel Original Movie Z-O-M-B-I-E-S, sung at the zombies' post-game party at the Seabrook Energy Plant.

How well does it match the trope?

2.5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SignatureSong

Media sources:

Main / SignatureSong