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Fido (2006)

by on 2010/10/09

Zombies are everywhere these days. Falling out of Jane Austen novels. Battling plants. I think we’ve all begun to take zombies (both fast and slow) for granted.

Fido (2006) was clearly ahead of its time. This terrific Canadian film drags lurching zombies into a 1950s suburban cul-de-sac. Featuring a stellar cast including Carrie-Ann Moss, Billy Connolly and Dylan Baker, this biting social satire takes the viewer into a world of 1950 gender politics, corporate profiteering and zombies.

Fido introduces us to the Robinsons, an average family in Willard, USA. White picket fences, pristine lawns, highballs, big cars and bigger skirts, Willard is the pitch-perfect picture of idyllic 50s society surrounded on all sides by flesh-eating zombies. Director Andrew Currie’s careful attention to detail, from the 50s educational videos to the highball glasses in the Robinson’s hands, makes this movie an absolute kick for those of us with an addiction to retro kitsch (and zombies).

The good, never-say-die people of Willard aren’t ones to let a few zombies spoil the backyard barbecue. When life hands them zombies …enter Zomcom Corporation with zombie-aid (sorry). Zomcom’s enterprising scientists have turned the zombie scourge into a positive for the balance sheet with all-new zombie collars. Presto – zombies are turned from brain-eating killing machines to placid domestic servants.

Now zombies can clean the bathroom, mow the lawn and vacuum the rug. Absolutely every family must have one.

Not to be left behind, social-climbing mother Helen Robinson (Carrie-Ann Moss) has her heart set on a zombie to help around the house while father Bill Robinson (Dylan Baker) frets about saving money for his family’s funeral plans (decapitation and complimentary head coffin included).

Helen wins this battle of wills and soon the family is joined by a six-foot zombie who Timmy Robinson (Kesun Loder) names Fido (Bill Connolly).

Precocious young Timmy is too observant and questioning for his own good, making him a target for neighbourhood bullies. Fido instantly becomes lonely Timmy’s father figure, pet and best friend.

Just when the future looks as bright as Timmy’s mom’s fake smile, Fido’s collar malfunctions and Fido gnaws the arm off the busybody old lady next door. Anxious to protect Fido, Timmy buries her corpse in a flower bed in the town square.

Unfortunately, the old lady rises up from the petunias to make few more zombies of the neighbourhood bullies. Soon there’s pandemonium on Main street.

Luckily for Timmy, Jonathan Bottoms (Henry Czerny), Zomcom chief of security and Robinson family friend sweeps in to hush the whole thing — thus avoiding bad PR for Zomcom.

Like Timmy, his mother Helen finds something she’s been missing in Fido. Her husband Bill is a cold fish who never dances with her any more. Fido’s only too happy to oblige.

The sexual politics between Helen and her husband is like watching Henrik Ibsen’s The (Zombie) Dollhouse.

As the film wears on, the viewer discovers part of Bill Robinson’s emotionless, slack-jawed preoccupation stems from his own father turning zombie and trying to eat him. “Feelings are not what’s important. Being alive is what’s important.”

Particularly notable in a movie of entertaining performances, Carrie-Ann Moss is absolutely hilarious as striving suburbanite Helen Robinson. Watching her dressed in a swing skirt serenely march into a thicket to put a bullet in the head of a zombie is truly a thing to behold.

All and all, Fido delivers an entertaining marriage of 1950s ‘Keeping Up With Joneses’ societal commentary with the best of the zombies genre.

This Halloween, wave a blood-red Canadian flag and watch Fido. It is simply swell.

* * * *

Rated PG-13 for zombies!

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