Film Review: Daddy I’m a Zombie (Papá, soy una zombi) (PG) (Spain, 2012)

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On the surface, the promise of Daddy I’m a Zombie’s Tim Burton animation style and horror/comedy sensibilities is appealing. Given the rising popularity of animated films within the genre (such as Coraline and Paranorman), there was hope that this Spanish feature might solidly deliver the same type of visual enchantment. Unfortunately it’s unpolished production, puzzling characters and flat plot make it a hit and miss affair.

Dixie’s tale is one of those adolescent identity crisis slash chosen one kind of deals, she’s a 13 year old struggling with her parent’s divorce due to her father’s career as a mortician. Her depression manifests in her gothic appearance and violent behaviour, leading to her being labelled as an outcast at school . A disastrous night out at the town fair, results in her accidental death and reawakening as a ‘zombie’. It seems her only chance to get back to the land of the living is through the prophecy of Azoth, which coincidentally is linked to a pendant given to her by her mother.

Whilst the film is quite cutesy and the characters endearing (albeit quite strange) it’s classification as ‘fun for adults and kids alike’ could be misconstrued. A younger audience will find it easy to follow as the characters fall naturally into good and evil categories and the story is fairly simple enough to enjoy. Adults though may find it too childish to peak their interest, the humour and plot are more tween targetted, drawing on a Mean Girls vibe.

Graphic production of the film feels unfinished, a factor of lushness is missing, resulting in harsh contrasted scenery. Depicted figures whilst styled beautifully, lack fluidity and detail in their facial expressions and actions, rendering them one dimensional. Kudos should be given to Dixie’s zombie appearance though, which is fittingly disjointed and gaunt with the right sort of hollow shading one would imagine of the undead.

The characters themselves are completely zany, pirate turned poet Gonner makes his entrance disguised as a pumpkin headed scarecrow, wielding one hook hand and a flame thrower. Wandering zombie Vitriol is some spaced out, soup loving hippie whilst the evil Nigresa is a witchy victorian nightmare who spends her time fawning over her Bonzai trees. The potential colourfulness of the cast however, is blotted out by stereotypes and not enough fat in the plot to explore personalities.

The tale’s bottom line is, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’, with a touch of ‘sisters before misters’ for good measure. Whether this sentiment will stick with the intended audience is unlikely though, as Daddy I’m a Zombie’s intentions aren’t good enough to override poor execution.

Review Score: TWO STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Duration: 88 minutes

Daddy, I’m a Zombie is released on DVD in Australia on May 21st, 2014.