Film: Zombie movies — the comfort food of genres

Posted by Sam Bouchat on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 9:32 am.

When it comes to zombie movies, my standards are incredibly low. I don’t care much about plot, characters, dialogue or camera work. I’ll accept any original story, no matter how outrageous — from the vaguely mentioned outbreak in “Shaun of the Dead” to the contaminated water in “The Crazies.” Sure, I still appreciate a well-constructed storyline — “Resident Evil’s” whole Umbrella Corporation plot made for an epic adventure — but zombie movies are special.

Zombie movies all follow the same basic plot: outbreak, survival, fighting, cure or death. The best zombie movies throw a shotgun or two in there. Most end with at least one main character dying or being turned. Normally, someone has to kill his best friend or family member while crying. There’s always that one reckless, bad-ass character who seems like he or she was made for the zombie apocalypse (Tallahassee in “Zombieland,” Roger in “Dawn of the Dead.”) There’s always the unsure, inexperienced character who is thrown into the situation reluctantly (Jim in “28 Days Later”). Zombie movies are comfort food — you always know what to expect, and regardless of the CGI or makeup, it’s zombies. You can’t go wrong with zombies.

Even so, new takes on zombie movies are always refreshing. “Warm Bodies” introduces audience to the concept of a zombie romantic comedy; “I Am Legend” brought on zombie-vampire hybrids. The genre is so flexible and well-known that it’s easy for audiences to acclimate to any change in the norm.

At the end of the day, a pleasant zombie movie can pretty much cure all woes.