Friday, November 16, 2018

An Accidental Zombie (Named Ted) – review

Director: Anne Welles

Release date: 2017

Contains spoilers

This is a kooky little comedy that is inoffensive but perhaps lacked either a little depth or a little offensiveness to give it that bit of an edge. That said it is a genuine little piece with a nice edge of comedy.

That comedy comes from absurdism that remains unexplained through the entire film, the viewer has to just accept that certain things are, go with it and the film contains an internal logic that then works.

Cameron McKendry as Ted
It starts with Ted (Cameron McKendry) heading to work and dropping papers as we hear a conversation between his boss Frank (Kane Hodder) and Frank’s new secretary Bonnie (Tanya Chisholm). This gives a background to the workplace. It is a place that takes discarded skin, renders it (in boilers in the basement, known colloquially as Hell) and turns it into new things – suits, lingerie, purses. It sounds ridiculous because it is part of the thread of absurdism I mentioned. Ted seems to step in some gore on the way in and explains to Frank that he has had an accident and a report will be late.

Akari Endo as Livia
Meanwhile Bonnie has noticed Ted’s skin and asks (as Frank has just mentioned a new worker initiative – "don’t be a zombie") whether Ted is a zombie. This is something he gets accused of often – though he repeatedly states that it is a skin condition (it runs in the family, though his parents adopted him) he picked up during a vacation to the Caribbean. A woman, Livia (Akari Endo), enters the office – thinking the building abandoned and trying to get out of the sun. We notice she has fangs. Ted is emotionally struck by her but she leaves, dropping a card for Dr Lovio (Tami Brockway Joyce) – who treats disorders of the paranormal.

Chad Eric Smith as Wolfgang
Ted attends the therapy in order that he might meet Livia – there is also a real Dr Lovio (Izzy Church), a psychologist, dismissive of her sister’s practice. It is a group therapy and there is Wolfgang (Chad Eric Smith) a werewolf with alopecia, Grendel (Jordan Liddle) a cave troll who became smart and Evie (Christina Nigra) a fairy who got big. Livia has been feeling strange since a holiday in Romania – fangs and strength being mentioned. Whilst there she met a botanist who always went out at night. She denies that she is a vampire.

So the film follows Ted and Livia getting together, both in denial about what they have become. There is a sub-plot about his kooky family and his Poppy (Timothy Brennen), who is apparently dying and suspicious of Ted’s skin condition – not being overly tolerant of zombies. There is a further sub-plot of a group of co-workers going missing, whilst one co-worker, Mel (Mary Druzba), repeatedly suggests that Ted ate them. This could have stood to be explored more and felt too throwaway. Ted himself often suffers visual hallucinations – of brains, blood etc…

Its all very gentle and, as mentioned, inoffensive. But it is professionally drawn together and the cast do well with amusing but thin material. The missing co-workers thread might have added character, and more importantly narrative depth, to the production had it been expanded. As could the sub-plot of the gold-digging sorceress with her claws in Poppy, which was dealt with in a rather cursory manner. Both plotlines offered a route to a much more fulfilling film, whilst keeping the “in denial” central plot point fresh. Though it didn’t do this it isn’t as though the film didn’t work. It did, but it could have been much more. 5.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On DVD @ Amazon US

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