After the unprecedented success of Drew Barrymore’s Santa Clarita Diet, it wasn’t long before independent cinema took a stab at the concept. If you swap the gender roles of the infected, Santa Clarita Diet and Greg Zekowski’s ZBurbs is mostly the same in terms of base-line concept. ZBurbs follows a young, married suburban couple dealing with the every day trials and tribulations of life. That is until Bill (Ian Alda) is attacked in the family home and narrowly saves his wife, Shelly (Marieh Delfino), before becoming one of the undead himself. Things become even more difficult for the love-birds when friends and family fall victim to Bill’s sensations for flesh and the authorities start snooping for answers. ZBurbs begs the question: what would you do for love… or WHO would you sacrifice for love? Marieh Delfino (Jeepers Creeps 2), Ian Alda (Scilicon Valley), Courtney Scheuerman, Gabe Greenspan, Clint Carmichael (Law and Order: True Crimes) Gina Hecht (General Hospital) and Bill Oberst Jr. (Dooms Chapel Horror) star in this comedy-horror flick from writer/director Greg Zekowski.
Going forward, I’d like to say that I wanted to like ZBurbs… but I just didn’t. It would be too easy to mark it off and say it wasn’t my cup of tea, but I actually have real reasons for giving it a low score. The execution of the plot was disjointed and never carried out in a fluid way. ZBurbs never had a moment of clarity in terms of atmosphere and the comedy came off as cheesy. Outdated, maybe. It was like watching a sitcom that was failing and using Desperate Housewives as a lead in, and you know it’s not going to get picked up for a second season. The voice over, the some over-exaggerated performances, and the quips and antics that never quite hit the mark… ZBurbs just wasn’t funny. And it failed in the area of horror, too. The zombies are more akin to cannibal virus infected humans, and are more crinkly and cranky than bloodthirsty animals. There’s not a lot of gore here, or even undead special effects, and when there is, it comes off like an afterthought. Then, when you add in that this title takes place almost completely inside the couple’s home, you get into the realm of being boring.
So, what did I like about ZBurbs? Not much. Well, the opening credits were very cool? The scores used in the movie were very retro Halloween, and that’s always something appealing to my ears. Speaking of which, there are different shades of comedy for different folks. Just because I didn’t dig this movie, it doesn’t mean you won’t, too. I’d seriously recommend it to couples looking for a decent, late night Halloween date night movie. See what your opinions are after. I thought the camera work was exceptional, so props to Christian Sebalt for his work here. And, finally, it was nice to see Marieh Delfiono acting in something new again. I don’t think I’ve seen her since 2009’s Penance. ZBurbs was produced by Julian Ford and Steve Ecclesine with executive producers Christian Sebalt, Marlon Schulman and Brian Herskowitz. Richard Fort served as editor. This film had the right director, the right camera-men, and the right actors, but monumentally failed when it came to genre boarders and execution. Sorry, guys.
Final Score: 4.5 out of 10