Zombie movies might just be one of the hardest genres to work with nowadays, as the sheer volume of these flicks makes it hard for any new film to stand out among the undead crowd. Despite this, Andy Edwards has decided to face the hoard by writing and directing Zombie Spring Breakers (previously known as Ibiza Undead), an unexpectedly charming teen comedy… with Zombies!
The film stars Jordan Coulson, Cara Theobold, Homer Todiwala, Ed Kear and a few others as an ensemble of English youngsters on vacation in the tropical paradise of Ibiza. However, this spring break may very well be the group’s last, as a mysterious virus has been spreading around the world, and some of the infected have washed up on the local beach. Trapped on this apocalyptic island, the group must band together in order to survive the zombie outbreak, not to mention each other.
With a setup like this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Zombie Spring Breakers is just another forgettable zombie apocalypse movie. Nevertheless, despite quite a few familiar plot points, the movie is a surprisingly effective teen romp, with the zombies feeling a bit incidental in light of the memorable characters and overall light-hearted tone.
Things get off to a slow start, as it takes a while for the infection to take hold of the island, but this setup is necessary in order to introduce us to these well-rounded characters and their own personal dilemmas. The cast has great chemistry together, and it’s easy to believe that these are life-long friends that just had the rotten luck of showing up at the wrong place at the wrong time. There are no generic zombie-slaying badasses here, only regular people with a good sense of humor.
At the end of the day, there are only a few surprises in store for genre-savvy viewers, but the execution here makes this a worthwhile ride. While the movie is a comedy above all else, there’s still a sense of urgency as you begin to regard these characters as people instead of zombie fodder, making the film more intense than your average horror flick. A few instances of lackluster effects can get a bit distracting, but the film doesn’t dwell on them, so it doesn’t really detract from the overall experience.
Of course, the humor isn’t always on point, but it mostly works, making Zombie Spring Breakers one hell of a good time. This isn’t a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I’d care to admit. It’s easy to admire such a genuine effort in a genre filled with cash-grabs and mediocrity, and you’ve got to hand it to Edwards for providing us with some likable characters and amusing zombie kills. It’s not exactly Shaun of the Dead, but Zombie Spring Breakers is definitely worth a watch.