Alright first, I guess I should mention that this film is not yet released. I was contacted by the first time directors that were hoping to find reviewers that could take a look at what they had crafted. Luckily, they found a guy with a LOT of free time. So let's get into it, shall we?
What Doesn't Kill Us is "a mockumentary about rehabilitated zombies facing the adversities of living in a time when they aren’t yet considered socially equal," directed by Zach Schlapkohl, Jacob Kiesling, and Ethan Cartwright.
Based on that description, I was already interested. Luckily, the movie was very consistent with that. I'll go straight into my positives with this one.
The movie was VERY creative in taking a fairly overused fad and reinventing it. This supplied many opportunities for the humor and I am happy to say that most of the jokes landed for a good laugh. In fact, I feel that the mockumentary style combined very well with the wild scenario. The movie focused on a few main characters and their incorporation back into the world, attempting to live as equals to the average humans around them. This clearly had many metaphors to the real world, yet they were applied in a mostly lighthearted and fun way. I was very impressed by the ability to cover some of these darker topics while still maintaining a fun tone.
To bring the focus back to the characters, some were definitely better than others, but they all held a fairly compelling story. Each seemed to deal with a different aspect of the overall struggle for equality; sports, workplace, politics, and daily life. Despite the crazy premise, their struggles were very believable in each scenario and I found myself happy to support them. One character in particular, Keith, had a very good character arc as he dealt with family and workplace struggles.
My final big praise of the film is that it successfully made a low budget look good. The makeup and cinematography was very believable and looked great, especially considering that it was not backed by a massive production studio. The mockumentary style definitely helped in this aspect.
Now, for my negatives. The story of the film was definitely interesting and I think it could have benefited from a deeper dive into the characters. I feel that the movie really only scratched the surface of what this scenario could be, and I would love to see more from the directors. Granted, 90 minutes only allows for so much story, but I would really like a closer look at the struggles of the Necrosapiens (especially Keith).
My only other big complaint was that the character of Bridgett was a little weak. This is no knock on the actress (Tevia Loeser), but more against the allotted time to the character. I think that she could have been a lot more interesting with a little bit more development.
However, these complaints are very minor in the grand scheme.
With mostly interesting characters, a great sense of humor, and an incredibly creative idea, What Doesn't Kill Us is a movie that I hope everybody gets the chance to see soon!
I have to give special praise to the directors on creating such a solid debut and I can't wait to see what will come next in their catalog!
I will be sure to let you know as soon as the premiere is announced officially, but for now, keep an eye out for the minds behind this film. I am definitely looking forward to whatever comes next from this trio.
Overall, I give What Doesn't Kill Us a 7.4/10
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