Judge David Johnson is the last of the loafing.
"Shaun of the Dead's got nothing on these slackers."
That's the DVD tagline. I can't see with wisdom of setting yourself up right at the start as a comparison piece to the standard-bearer for zombie comedies, and it turns out the match-up is not in favor of Last of the Living.
Facts of the Case
You know the drill by now: a virus has decimated humanity, turning them into man-eating zombies who aimlessly roam the abandoned streets looking to take a generous bite out of any non-zombified bipedal organism that crosses their path. During the apocalypse, three hapless friends spent their days watching TV and playing video games, in between sporadic trips to the outside world for supplies. One trip brings them into contact with a beautiful girl who claims to have discovered a cure for the virus. Now the slackers have a bigger mission ahead of them: saving the world.
Writer/director/everything-else Logan McMillan knows his way around the zombie genre and hits all the necessary beats the playbook dictates: vacant streets, improvised weaponry, headshots, bite victims coming to terms with their death sentence and going out in a hail of violent rage, plot devices that could save mankind, and so on. While all the bases are covered, McMillan turns what could have been just another forgettable, derivative zombie movie into something a bit more interesting, by inserting an effective comedic twist.
There's a great sense of humor that runs throughout the film, making it more of a straight-up comedy set against a zombie holocaust backdrop than the other way around. The funny starts with the three main characters—Morgan, Ash, and Johnny. The actors play off each other well, all doing their best frat boy impressions (a lot of insulting and farting). Just when the slacker schtick flirts with tedium, the zombie setting pays off, offering the opportunity to transform any character who's overstayed their welcome into a raving lunatic and foil for the modest amount of tension that surfaces every once in a while.
Which is as good a segue as any to say a few words about the main storyline. At one point, the "losers existing" plot turns into a "save the planet road movie." Our heroes task: infiltrating a laboratory, finding a plane, and flying off to the installation that's supposedly researching the cure. It's a simple, recognizable thread, but it gives McMillan the chance to toss in some traditional zombie fighting, which, in this case, tends towards the slapstick rather than the grotesque.
Overall, Last of the Living is a decent little zombie/comedy hybrid, entertaining and funny enough to be given a shot, though not nearly as refined as the more sublime genre fare.
The unrated DVD sports an attractive, stylized 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, 2.0 stereo mix, and a collection of cast interviews.
Last of the Living is fun and familiar. Zombie aficionados should enjoy it.
Not Guilty. Let's just keep the mention of other, superior movies out of the tagline, huh?
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.