May 18, 2010
Mix Leave It to Beaver with Night of The Living Dead and you've pretty much got Fido. It looks OK at first glance, but the interesting concept and charming tone really make the film what it's worth. It's a shame that imaginative films like these aren't well-known while mindnumbingly awful popcorn flicks - ala Transformers - are somehow able to make millions and millions of dollars. Regardless, Fido proves to be a funny, charming, and pretty interesting black comedy.

The film takes place in an alternate version of the 1950's, in which radiation from space has turned the dead into zombies. After a long struggle against the zombies, humankind was able to domesticate the zombies with the help of government corporation "ZomCon". With the use of specialized collars, people are able to command zombies as they see fit. Whether they're delivering the mail, walking a dog, or mowing the lawn, the zombies have become unquestioning slaves to the humans. However, should the collar break, the zombie will return to its original murderous state and begin to attack any nearby humans. This brings us to our main character, Timmy, whose family has just gotten its first zombie. Though he's at first hesitant about the new zombie, Timmy soon befriends his zombie, aptly names him "Fido", and the narrative unfolds from there.

If you could say one thing about Fido, it's that the film's incredibly creative. From its original concept to the rules of its fictional world, the writing is a clear sign of how much work and thought went into this film. The idea of domesticated zombies alone is, quite frankly, very cool.

The film's surprisingly very character-orientated. This isn't one of those comedies that focuses on gags alone, instead letting us get to know and like the characters of the town of Willard. Timmy's not the most original character, for instance, but he's got heart and that's what makes him so likable. The titular Fido is also a very likable character. He never utters a single word, yet he comes off as being of the most adorable characters in the film - despite the rotting flesh and all. The relationship that forms between Timmy and Fido is really heartwarming too. Before Fido, Timmy had no friends whatsoever, so it only makes the time spent with the two that much cuter.

As far as humor goes, the film's pretty funny. The deadpan delivery's great, and the unusual world of the film only serves to make that deadpan seriousness all the funnier. I especially liked Timmy's dad, simply because his comedic timing is so spot-on. "Oh, I'm just going to the driving range, son." "But don't all of the dads in town take their kids to the driving range?" "...No. No, they don't". That's only one of the conversations between Timmy and his dad, but there are plenty of other great one-liners and jokes like that in the film. From girl scouts singing about headshots to implied necrophilia, the film has a great and dark sense of humor. Not all of the jokes work, but these moments are few and far between.

The film's got a nice pacing, thanks to how interesting the concept behind the film is. We find ourselves pretty interested in this new world the film presents, and getting to learn more about the rules of this world - like what to do with the elderly - is humorous and fascinating enough to hold our attention. It does tend to drag a bit near the end, but this is a small complaint. If I had to list any further complaints, it's that the film could sometimes feel a little cheesy. It's supposed to be the 1950's, I get that, but still...

Overall, Fido is a really fun movie. It's got creativity, a nice sense of humor, and it's really cute to boot.

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