Posted by: Brian Knowles
Directed by Grace Lee, 2007
Written by Grace Lee, Rebecca Sonnenshine
Mockumentaries as anything other than comedy are damn near impossible to get right. A self-serious mockumentary, as with a horror movie without scares, is a recipe for disaster. Alas, AMERICAN ZOMBIE avoids failure on an epic level (something another recent zombiementary, THE ZOMBIE DIARIES cannot claim), but it is too worried about appearing realistic and legitimate to actually entertain. One of most appealing aspects of documentaries is experiencing that which would be unbelievable if it wasn’t true. If a “documentary” is inherently fictional and it doesn’t appeal on a visceral level, the question is begged: What is the point?
I think the “point” is that it’s easier to make a mockumentary than a traditional narrative film. Or at least it’s easier to make it professional-looking. And that is certainly one of AMERICAN ZOMBIE’S strong suits – it looks and sounds like a real documentary. The acting is solid, the cinematography is very documentary-like, and the zombie-infected world it creates is relatively believable. As a genuine documentary it may have been informative and enlightening. As a mockumentary it’s completely and utterly boring.