Zombies From Banana Village

Zombies From Banana Village


Reviewed by: Daniel Hooper

It’s always good when a film’s name lives up to it’s implied genius – take Escape From New York, a simple title that sums up the films plot and builds upon it; Die Hard With A Vengeance, meanwhile, promises another entry into the franchise but this time with a vengeance angle and delivers; and Shaun Of The Dead, a witty title that the film more than lives up to. Conversely, with a name as good as, say, Zombies From Banana Village disappointment waits around the corner.

It’s not that a zombie comedy with Asian cinema styling doesn’t have huge potential – anyone who has seen Miike Takeshi’s zom-com-musical-melodrama The Happiness Of The Katakuris knows that. And it’s not that the film's name is misleading, this is indeed a story of zombies infesting a place called Banana Village and it does start out promisingly following the death of the village elders, before descending into a bunch of pointless sequences as the survivors have to flee from their one-time neighbours, all of which leads to the very definition of a deus-ex-machina ending.

Across the board, the quality acting never rises above atrocious. The soundtrack, too, is strictly bargain basement standard. These shouldn’t be too big an issue for a zombie comedy (and in the right hands these can be made into virtues – see Return Of The Living Dead), but the problem is that there is nothing worth engaging with in Zombies From Banana Village and focus is immediately drawn to said flaws.

The characters come in five archetypes (annoying, annoying coward, annoying douche bag, annoying screaming female, or zombie) with little in the way of development or anyone likeable enough to root for, while the humour varies between dumb and silly and more often than not misses the mark. The horror, too, is completely absent, making Zombies From Banana Village an unfunny comedy with annoying characters.

The fiilm is not completely irredeemable – to the filmmakers' credit, they do make good use of a smoke machine, there is a certain ramshackle charm to the cheap and unscary zombies, and when is a little kid with a penchant for shooting down zombies with shotgun not going to be amusing? But for a considerable amount of the running time it feels like the joke (and, indeed, what little plot it has) may have been lost in translation. If you want a zombie comedy with an indigenous flavour, then check out the aforementioned zombie films or the Spierig Brothers’ Undead - an Australian twist on the zom-com with genuine laughs and scares, neither of which can be found here.

Reviewed on: 22 May 2009
Share this with others on...
Following the death of people who died after eating at a local café, the undead rise to scare the locals.
Amazon link

Director: Mamat Khalid

Writer: Mamat Khalid

Starring: Awie, AC Mizal, Que Haidar, Sofi Jikan, Ezlynn, Nadia Mustafar, Hamid Gurkha, Loloq, Jalil Hamid, Mazlan Senario, Zami Ismail, Man Kadir, Adam Khalid

Year: 2007

Runtime: 118 minutes

Country: Malaysia


Terracotta 2009

Search database: