Of course it’s silly and slippery with innards and fluids and the kinds of squishy grossouts you expect from a zombie horror comedy, but there’s also, in this low-budget Australian import, an oddly poignant attempt to redeem a hackneyed genre from pointless insensitivity. When the walking dead overrun a small fishing village, the local beauty queen (Felicity Mason) and a farmer with tales of alien abduction (Mungo McKay) reluctantly team up for survival’s sake, but the situation is more complicated than anything George Romero ever dreamed up. Brother filmmakers Michael and Peter Spierig are visually quite inventive, for all that this little flick was clearly made on the cheap, but it’s their ambitious stab at getting you to reconsider everything you think you know about both zombies and aliens that’s really rather splendid. Elements of British paranoid sci-fi of the 1950s and 60s creep in — imagine if Sam Raimi remade Day of the Triffids or Village of the Damned — lending the film more gravitas than you’re expecting. In the end, it’s all surprisingly touching: the zombie apocalypse ain’t what it used to be.
rated R for strong violence and gore, and for language
viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics