Director: Chava Cartas
Cast: Inaki Godoy, Marcelo Barcelo, Roberta Damian, Luciana Vale, Vincent Michael Webb, Barbara de Regil
A group of teenagers must face a zombie apocalypse, and help reestablish order. – IMDB
MexZombies is a Mexican horror comedy and a love letter to mostly zombie films. It features a group of teens who group up together to keep the zombies in their gated community and stop them before they have an all out apocalypse in Mexico during Halloween night. The film blends horror zombie style to Stranger Things, The Goonies à la Zombieland vibes. Packed with mentions of horror films in dialogue, the homage flows pretty well in the script while still having its own style.
MexZombies is set in a gated community and with that brings its upper class families which also happens to be next to a lower class area in the vicinities which is where a social class issue is brought up and creates some of the comedy here when the main character Tavo sneaks into the community to spy on Ana, a girl that he has a crush on and has been caught before by the security. Both adults and teenagers alike all have their own issues with it as they either use it as a sense to exclude him or see him in a different light. Its a nice use of the topic itself. The gated community “one setting” has a big scope so the whole neighborhood comes into play with its Halloween festivities and such.
While that comes up, MexZombies is a fun zombie film with a charming young cast filled with four Mexican kids and one American kid. The film is set on Halloween night which also makes it all the more fun when the doubts are cast further when its hard to differentiate between a real zombie versus a fake one for a prank or whatnot. The challenges around every corner turns itself into its own fun twist of events for the most part. Even in lieu of certain plot points where its meant to be drama, its moves through it really quickly and refocuses back on the subject at hand: killing zombies to defend the nation.
Being someone who isn’t particularly well-versed in Mexican films or the actors/actresses in it, the young cast of character of quite a nice bunch. They each have their distinctive characteristics and it also calls back to the Halloween outfit that they are wearing. Much like they are kids and might know where to find the weapons, they don’t quite know how to use it. Of course, in this case, firearms expert among them is the American kid Johnny, played by Vincent Michael Webb who has a pretty fun character especially since he plays on the same line over and over again and it kind of works well especially when the others start reciprocating the dialogue in English to his surprise. Much like his host family’s daughter Rex (Luciana Vale) who ends up wielding a katana as her weapon of choice and rocking a fantastic outfit but has the moment where she realizes the sword is too long for her to pull out of its casing.
All that said, the two main characters of this entire films are best friends Tavo (Inaki Godoy) and Cronos (Marcelo Barcelo). Cronos is a nickname and while I’m not sure if I missed the reference but does make me wonder whether its a reference to Del Torro’s Cronos. These two characters are the highlight as they nail their roles completely with Tavo supposedly being on the wrong side of the tracks and expected to know all this tough business when he isn’t and Cronos is a cinephile for all things horror and faints at a sight of an insect. Suffice to say almost all the film reference is by Cronos.
Overall, MexZombies is a real gem. In terms of the storytelling, its one clever little plot. There’s a link to how this whole thing starts and who gets pulled right back into the equation while still creating some fun twists to play on various societal issues in a relaxing comedic way. The young cast while not all shining in the same way, they all deliver some solid acting for their characters plus some nice character development as well. Horror comedy zombies aren’t exactly anything to be scared of but between the comedy and the zombie action, there is a nice balance achieved. As a side note, it was hilarious to watch a little supporting role by Xin Wang as Maton Asiatico, which is super random without even an actual name for his character since he just talks in Chinese the whole time and feels out of place to be there as a thug because he’s cheap labor (and I have seen him before in TV drama Love Scenery (review)). I do love some random humor and this film is filled with it in such a witty smart way.