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Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies (2018) - Movie Review

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Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies - Movie Review

Movie Review

3 stars“But does anybody have any weed, though,” the hot lesbian redhead asks about 20-minutes into this low-budget horror flick. She’s being helpful, Boils and Ghouls, as three or four joints and a few beers are pretty much mandatory in appreciating this regional shocker from director Mark Newton and Gravitas Ventures. Cheap on gore effects (the first zombie apparently goes Halloween mask shopping) and using local talent for its main performances, this DIY production is about as raw as they come.

But Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies knows what it is and embraces that with a gung-ho spirit and delivers a film that, while loopy in some aspects, absolutely works.

A brand new zombie plague might be on its way courtesy of an agrochemical product being used in the crops but there’s still time to get high alongside the rest of the hillbillies in this film. That’s its message. Have fun, chew bubblegum, and kick ass. We’ve heard this before – or something like it – in John Carpenter’s They Live and that message, grounded here by a cheapo depot carnival and a blues festival, still carries weight.

Yes, this is the silly territory of the very B-minded Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies. Everything in this Dixie-fied production feels homegrown. And, honestly, that’s where its charm comes from. Whip out your phone and Google the population of Charleston, Mississippi. If you can see names, check them against the credits here because it looks like damn near everyone turned out in the town to help with this dumb fun flick. And BRAVO to them, I say.

This is a film that is an unabashed joy to watch unfold. And it begins with our hero, Lonnie (Timothy Haug), a crop dusting young pilot, doing his duty high in the skies. There are some nice aerial shots – and a tip of the hat to Hitch's North By Northwest – as Lonnie goes about his business with GloboBioTech’s experimental product loaded in his plane.

Unfortunately, the herbicide Quadoxin is going to have a gnarly effect on the people below him. Don’t drink the water, my friend. Hell, don’t eat the deep fried Twinkies either!

While the performances from Moses J. Moseley (The Walking Dead), Wyntergrace Williams (This Just In), Megan Few (Demons), Escalante Lundy (Django Unchained), Kaitlin Mesh, and Clay Acker run the gamut from the great to the maudlin, there’s a paleness in the direction that makes you wonder just how much of the dialogue was scripted and how much was just thought up on the spot.

There are some clever lines sprinkled throughout Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies. There just aren’t enough. And some of the performances are iffy. It’s as if some actors thought they were in a serious horror film and the others knew this flick was a bit different in its overall swagger. There really isn’t a balance between the two tones and the gulf that is created by the comedic and the serious is sometimes bewildering.

With a backdrop of the Mose Allison Music Festival, this zombie plague begins when three teenage boys go in search of one man’s shack-grown marijuana. The poor dude (Bruce Fenton) is already dead but his eyes suddenly flicker and, seeing a supple arm nearby, he quickly chomps down. Boom. You know how the rest of the story goes because these boys, with their wounded friend in tow, are headed toward the small town’s carnival.

With goopy gore effects from Jonathan Thornton, the best scene in the movie happens early. It’s with the first zombie; the hermit in the shack who is chasing after the boys. While his makeup changes, he heads toward a lake and is actually caught by a fisherman – who probably believes he has a big ol’ fish on his line – and pulled out of the water, only to attack the fat bastard who caught him. Poor guy never stood a chance.  

Gravitas Ventures has set March 13, 2018 as the release date for Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies, originally released as Kudzu Zombies, on all digital platforms. The film won the honor of "Goriest Film" at the 2017 FANtastic Horror Film Festival in San Diego and will be released in Los Angeles for an exclusive run at Arena CineLounge later in March. It’s an event, if you live in the area, you won’t want to miss.

The South gets some homegrown roasting thanks to this wild little zombie flick. Herschell Gordon Lewis would be proud.

Film Details

Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime: 98 mins
Director: Mark Newton
Writer: Christian Hokenson
Cast: Kaitlin Mesh, Miles Doleac, Wyntergrace Williams
Genre: Horror
Tagline: it grows on you.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Maybe you can tell us how it is that the dead can walk around."
Theatrical Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Official Site: kudzuzombies.com
Release Date: March 13, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: Synopsis: Lonnie, a crop duster pilot, must lead a mismatched group of survivors to escape the deadly zombie horde after an experimental chemical, intended to control the invasive kudzu vine, transforms the citizens of Charleston, MS into zombies.

Blue-ray Review

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