Joel, Darryl, and Roy are mates who work at an Australian telephone exchange. Joined by Roy’s daughter Emma, her boyfriend Lachlan, and his friend Ryan, the surviving group of six hold out in the exchange while the world crumbles around them from a sudden and vicious zombie apocalypse. Trapped and desperate, the survivors bicker amongst themselves in trying to formulate the best plan of escape and who should be recruited for the company cricket team. One shotgun with eight shells, two paintball guns, a machete, a tiny homemade cricket bat, and a grenade is all that stands between them and a cannibalistic horde of zombified Aussies.
Writer-director Declan Shrubb’s sophomore film stars an eclectic cast of veteran and amateur actors from the 20 years of experience and upcoming TV series “Wolf Creek” actor Greg Fleet to the hilarity of stand-up comedians and radio personalities of Jim Jefferies and Alex Williamson. “Me and my Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse” is a tongue-and-cheek zombie comedy straight out of Australia, a country known for it’s intense and respectable homage heavy renditions of America’s video nasties from the 1980’s while also combining brazen wit that hurts so hysterically good. Shrubb’s film nowhere nearly disappoints, living up to the whims and visceral intensity comparable to that of 2007’s “Undead.”
Just in the simply put title alone, “My and my Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse,” should warrant that the 2015 film doesn’t take itself seriously, but Shrubb blends together various facets of humor, slipping in countless forms of comic relief from crude sexual humor to the harmless play on words while also sprinkling throughout with off-color dialogue. A majority of the characters initially feel aloof or appear as pot smoking knuckleheads; yet, the characters can rise to the occasion at times seemingly becoming a formidable force against the living dead, labeled by the exchange workers as ‘Rotters.” Surprisingly enough, the characters’ dumb luck practically leaves them unscathed or, if really unlucky, placed in the folds of another hair raising scenario to only escape in a goofy fashion.
Alex Williamson is by far a fan favorite as the hapless company cricket team recruit Darryl who spits out off-the-way quips that make him a likable blockhead much in the same way Goofy is a smart klutz friend to Mickey Mouse. Then Greg Fleet portrays Roy, a pissed off father and cricket coach, looking for the easy way out without his balls turning purple (you’ll have to watch the movie to know what I’m talking about). Fleet’s character grows immensely, withstanding many personal pains from not only the zombies, but from his so-called friends. However, Roy is a tough bird, a real nut puncher when needs to be, bringing his character to the forefront of the film. The third friend, Joel, played by Jim Jefferies was a character that had a role reversal from the actor playing him. Jefferies is an actual stand-up comic, but Joel had to be the most serious and smartest character of the bunch, whipping up communications in a jiffy with meager tools while not being too funny about doing it.
Like always in Australian or New Zealand zombie horror, the special effects realistically pit our heros against a nasty, grotesque bunch of undead and decaying ghouls whom can dig out your innards in no time flat to make a delicacy out of them. The zombies didn’t appear cheap with rotting skin, gnarly gashes, and effective blood smears and were portrayed actively well, even if applied with some brain smarts to be able to get past Darryl’s homemade and shoddy powerful electric fence. The macabre wasn’t too shabby either with a very Romero-Savini-esque death sequences that’ll be stuffed with plenty of pig intestines.
UK home entertainment distributor Matchbox Films courteously releases “Me and My Mates vs. The Zombie Apocalypse” on DVD. The 90 minute film was sent to Its Bloggin’ Evil for review via an online screener link (as you can tell from the watermark on the screen caps) and a review of the audio and video qualities, plus any bonus material, won’t be critiqued. With that being said, the movie itself nails being impressively amusing. Your sides will burst, your throat will hurt, and your eyes will transform into a torrential waterfall as Declan Shrubb’s horror comedy bites hard into becoming an apocalypse of zombie buffoonery.