I’ve seen all kinds of zombie movies, with all kinds of zombies. From the shambling turquoise Romero types to the maggot-infested Fulci variety, and everything in-between, I’d thought I’d seen it all when it came to the undead.
And then comes something like Fido.
It’s been many years since mankind has fought and “won” a war against the zombies, and the living now enjoy their time in their fenced-in towns, protected by the ZomCom corporation, inventors of a patented collar that turns flesh-eating zombies into docile servants. Thanks to the zombie-phobic Bill Robinson (Dylan Baker), his family are the only people on their block not to own a zombie servant, but when a high-powered ZomCom executive moves next door, Helen Robinson (Carrie-Anne Moss) convinces her husband to let them keep a zombie (played by Scottish funnyman, Billy Connolly) she’s procured to impress the new neighbors. Young Timmy Robinson (K’Sun Ray) quickly bonds with his family’s new servant, and names him Fido after the zombie protects him from a pair of bullies. While playing fetch in the park, Fido happens upon Timmy’s wicked elderly neighbor, Mrs. Henderson, who assaults the zombie, triggering a malfunction in his collar. When Timmy finally catches up to Fido, it’s too late; he’s killed Mrs. Henderson, and now Timmy must hide his “pets” crime or face exile in The Wild Zone, beyond the safety of the town’s zombie gates!
Fido exists in place that is equal parts Pleasantville and Dawn of the Dead. Filmed in a gorgeous Technicolor style, with gleaming ‘50’s automobiles, vivid fashions, and the lush manicured lawns of a suburban Utopia. The zombies, on the other hand, stand in stark contrast, with their dark jumpsuits and gray skin; shuffling up the streets delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, or serving umbrella drinks to lounging men in Hawaiian shirts. It’s a situation primed to explode, and it very often does, but, thanks to the men and women of ZomCom, zombie uprisings are quickly quelled, and done with a hilariously casual and callous nature. This is a world in which the elderly are fitted with heart monitors (so that when they die they can be immediately be pressed into zombie service), the wealthy have themselves beheaded and are buried in two coffins so that they won’t come back, and, outside the gates to suburbia, millions of zombies bide their time, patiently awaiting the eventual human error that lets them in. This is a brilliantly crafted, wonderfully realized zombie universe that embraces the conventions of the genre while simultaneously tipping it on its ear.
Lionsgate releases Fido with a nice assortment of extra features, including the “Making of Fido”; Deleted Scenes; "Zombie-Me" Creator; Audio Commentary with Director and Producers; Storyboards; Concept Art Galleries; Composer Select Scene Commentary Track; Make-up Gallery, and more.
Fido is a truly refreshing twist on a well-worn genre. While it’s a very funny film, the comedy isn’t broad or obvious (save for a hysterically funny nod to the Lassie television series), but rather focused on the dichotomy of hideous, flesh-eating zombies and the grand illusion of ‘50’s era American suburban bliss.In the capable hands of director Andrew Currie, Fido proves to be a comedy goldmine filled with heart, and wonderful subtleties that demand repeated viewings. Excellent stuff!