A Family of EVIL Walks, Talks, and Comes in a Putrid Shade of Blue! “Super Z” reviewed! (Synergetic / DVD)

“Super Z” Has Bites and Baffoonery!  Amazon.com Has it on DVD!

A genetically produced, made-to-order zombie foursome are grown in a private laboratory and continue to be experimented on by a greedy CEO and his team of mad scientists from conception to create a group of governable, intelligent, and unstoppable do-bidders.  The latest batch of untested cultivating serum provides the four with the ability to think and talk, the only severe drawback side-effect is the  foulmouthed and uncivilized behavior makes them spitefully aggressive.  Able to speak for the first time, the zombies are actually a family of four and are able to use their undead abilities to escape with their undead lives to plot a revenge on all of humankind for all the cruelty brought down upon the zombie gene.  Feasting on a nearby couple to stave their hunger and infecting the couple’s white-boy rapper son to join the family as one of their own, a male heir of sorts amongst two older sister siblings, the now nuclear zombie family forages for human flesh while turning a rundown cabin in the woods into a place they can call home and plan their worldwide retribution, but as mother and father work on their relationship issues, a son finding love to become a man, and two sisters with an uncontrollable bloodlust, the impatient CEO hires mercenaries to hunt them down as retrievable property.

Who better to create an absurd, over-the-top zombie comedy than the people of France, the national birthplace of the absurdism philosophy.  That is what the gonzo-gory “Super Z” reflects, a heightened realization of life and intelligence after many years of being a docile dead becomes the basis for French writer-directors Julien de Volte and Arnaud Tabarly in their first feature length film.  Grossly saturated with explicit pejoratives, zany antics, and is hairbrained on a level I never would have thought could be achieved, “Super Z,” short for Super Zombie, is based off the filmmakers’ 17-minute 2014 short film “The Foodies” and now in 2022, the film unlocks yet again a very seldomly explored narrative that walks the same flip-the-script lines on taking the George Romero-style zombie perspective, such as with 2007’s “Aaah! Zombies!!” or 2013’s “Warm Bodies,” and laces it with an unrestrainable absurdist style.  To be honest, “Super Z” will repel the majority of audiences who can’t embrace its border crossing childishness and cartoon consorting pursuance.   Following the success of the short film, Tabarly and Volte’s Orléans, France based La Ruche Productions is the production company’s first feature film outside the regular shorts and documentaries accomplished by the company and is produced Laura Townsend.

The story engrosses us into the ebb and flows of family dynamics, but not just any kind of family dynamics as it’s made up of genetically modified zombies.  Yet, Arnaud Tarably and Julien de Volte don’t divide the extremities of the living and dead too far apart.  Family dinners are still held together around the table, the purpose of existence within the fragile relationship construct comes into question quite about between father and mother, and even a teenage boy coming into manhood when washed over with an overpowering smitten sensation at first sight of a farm girl are all the things the zombie family experience making a life away from human interaction with the only human interacting being the one where the zombies have the upper hand as well as the severed torsos, the castrated genital organs, or the decapitated heads as a full table spread with dad’s special gravy (aka blood) as the secret sauce.  While their performances won’t win any kind of awards, at all, I do believe “High Lane’s” Johan Libéreau as the father Gertre and “Savage State’s” Julien Courbey as the mother Stephana cater to the bloody nub of gnarly passion between two also covered in filth and body fluid zombies lovingly trying to protect their unique family at a normalized primal cost and formulate a monumental revenge against humans.  One question that rises out of Gertre and Stephana’s relationship is is Stephana supposed to be a man actor playing a woman character assigned gender by genetic disposition or a zombified gay man in transition?  It’s never clear but it also doesn’t really matter as it adds to Stephana idiosyncratic comedy as she removes a female corpses breast to sew to her own chest but also pees blood standing up!  It becomes just a curiosity that arises but the crux of the character is nailed down by Courbey who shows a sensitive and savage side being a cabin-wife to three children and providing for Gertre’s quest to queen her zombie world domination.  Gertre and Stephana’s children are played by returning “The Foodies” actors Fabien Ara as the baby boy Yvon and Florence Bebic-Veruin as sister Georgette with the addition of Audrey Giacomini being adopted into the ferociously multifaceted family cast as the second sister Marcelline.  Ara and Bebic-Veruin reprise their colorfully blue necrotic-skinned and blood-red splattered characters as squabbling siblings as the babied Yvon is coddled to the point of seeking love in a local farmer’s verbally abused but carefree and nearly toothless daughter Augustine, another reprised performance by Marion Mezadorian who was also a farm gal in “The Foodies.”  “Super Z” fills out the cast with lots of zombie fodder but also includes Jean-François arises, (“Time Demon”), Ludovic Schoendoerffer (“Crime Scenes”), Jacques Boudet (“Dracula and Son”), Laurent Bouhnik, and Jo Prestia of “Irreversible” as the mercenary’s very much alive cousin and the zombie family’s bodiless uncle!  Wait, and you’ll see what I mean.

“Super Z” will not sate everyone’s thirst of comedy nor will be gripping horror, but the French absurdist film will quench with gore galore with a setup that’s real light on its feet, swiftly making haste through a narrative that if you blink or didn’t hear a certain part of the dialogue, or read the subtitles if you don’t understand French, than you’re left holding the bag trying to play catchup on what the hell is going on.  Not your fault by any means as “Super Z” goes at a super breakneck speed that aggressively aggregates zombie intelligence, a laboratory escape, a zombie-turned-son, and a quiet, secluded abode to make camp all within the first 15 minutes or so.  From there, we ease into the zombie family country life, getting to understand their troubles, their ambitions, and their family squabbles more-and-more while father and his daughters hunt down bypassing humans with a machete and make a smorgasbord of homecooked organs, blood, and flesh out of them that is fit for an undead king while the wife cooks the food and showers the biologically unrelated brat with pet names and adorable little hairdos to much of his disgust.  Zany can’t describe “Super Z’s” overzealous rubbish yet within that zany overzealous rubbish, a thin stream of guilty pleasures can result in keeping attentions from pressing the off button and burning the disc to a crisp.  “Super Z” is not a too terrible horror-comedy as long as understanding the premised background helps focus on the filmmakers’ key conveyances within an absurdist designed paradigm that just happens to have lots of blood and guts. 

If the zombie subgenre was becoming too stale as week old bread, then “Super Z” keeps the rotting bags of walking meat fresh with a managing ménage of the uncouth undead. Synergetic distribution goes international with domestic releases with “Super Z” on DVD. The Smart-Ass Zombies are presented in a widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio with a picture quality that renders clean just like many modern-day digital models. The Synergetic DVD has consistent Mbps decoding reliability on the DVD5, decoding at a rate of 8.9 Mbps with hardly a blip on compression. In regard to the coloring, the zombie family’s forest background pops with lush greenery that becomes invariably evident in other mise-en-scene aspects as a higher contrast delineation defines the boundaries super well, materializing emerging imagery with deep shadows and a vibrantly eclectic color palette resembling near comic book visuals that luckily absorb Cyril Féron’s cut-and-paste visual effects into the crass configuration. The French Stereo 2.0 offers free from nuisance tracks but definitely output in a two-dimensional standard that, since there’s more range than one might expect, softens the punch of this madcap zombie mayhem to a par mix that works well enough. The zombified autotune adds a layer of obstruction over the dialogue track but if reading the burned in English subtitles, then there’s nothing lost in that respect. The entire mix is an overall healthy dose of ambient bustle, sprightly dialogue, and lots of buffoonery snaking in between. The Synergetic DVD doesn’t support bonus material with only the feature and a chapter selection on the main menu but there is an after credits stinger of a cow and a severed head that attempts one last quick chuckle out of the viewer. Supporting all region codes, the DVD has a runtime of 80 minutes and is seemingly unrated, there is no stated rating on the back cover. Speaking of which, Synergetic DVD covers skirt the cost with slapdash compositions an eighth grader learning AutoCAD could have completed for a solid C+. The mustard yellow with black, nearly indistinct, vignettes don’t provide any kind of appetizing stimulation and, oppositely, can snuff out any sort of enthusiasm toward checking this French absurdist piece out, but don’t let the lackadaisical cover art dishearten a peak into what could be a considerably wild and gory experience. Just be warned that “Super Z” isn’t for everyone and everyone isn’t for “Super Z” living on a different, bizarro plane of existence.

“Super Z” Has Bites and Baffoonery!  Amazon.com Has it on DVD!

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