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Quint says Lionsgate's FIDO is like mixing George A. Romero with Brad Bird!!!

Published at: Dec. 2, 2006, 2:22 a.m. CST by quint

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Of the nearly 20 films I saw at AFM, this one is my favorite. What I knew before sitting down to watch Lionsgate's FIDO: Trinity, Lizard and Delmar were in it (Carrie-Anne Moss, Dylan Baker and Tim Blake Nelson dontcha know?) and it had something to do with a kid with a pet zombie. I wasn't really prepared for what this movie was. Imagine, if you will, taking elements from all of George A. Romero's DEAD films and combining them with IRON GIANT, then sprinkling a pinch of SHAUN OF THE DEAD over the whole thing. Finally, the cherry on top, being a bit of LASSIE, for that extra sweet kick. First of all, this film is a period piece, set in a '50/early '60s like world. America (and presumably the rest of the world) has been through the great zombie war, caused by space dust... but that's just a throw-away explanation of the existence of zombies. The how doesn't really matter. This film picks up when communities have been rebuilt. There are "wild zones" where zombies still rule, but a giant corporation rose out of the ashes of the Great Zombie War: Zomcon. They erected walls around the populated cities, have patrols all around the human areas and have even devised a collar that immediately takes away a zombie's impulse to feed, making them suggestible and totally docile. When I say this corporation has built walls around these cities, it's not like LAND OF THE DEAD. These cities are pure 1950s Americana, idyllic suburbs, all women in dresses, men in suits, etc. Just now there are zombies added to the equation. Zombies are now servants. Essentially all the labor intensive jobs belong to them. They carry groceries out to your car, they mow your lawn, they clean all the trash out of the streets, they deliver the milk, the mail and newspapers. These suburbs are safe... except for a real threat... the goddamn elderly. In this world, the radiation which began the zombie infestation still lingers, so when you die, no matter what the cause, you return as a zombie. So, the biggest breaches of security happen when an elderly person dies. Our story focuses on a family in one of these suburbs. We have a distant, kind of assholey, father, played by Dylan Baker, a well-meaning and sweet, but ignored wife, played by Carrie-Anne Moss and a young boy of 10/11/12-ish. The boy, Timmy, is lonely. He's picked on in school by a pair of bullies, he doesn't buy into the Zomcon corporate line and catches hell for it, but he's a good kid. One day Moss goes behind Baker's back and buys a zombie. Think of them like man-servants. They're one of the last on their street to have a zombie mostly due to Baker's distrust and fear of them. Of course, Timmy and this zombie become close. He names the zombie Fido (because he wants to play catch) and Fido becomes very much a best friend and protector, like Lassie or the Iron Giant. Get the Brad Bird mention now? What really blew me away in this film was Billy Connolly as Fido. I refused to believe that was the famous Scottish comedian. He disappears in this movie. I can say, in all seriousness, that Connolly's work in FIDO is up there with Peter Boyle's (YOUNG) FRANKENSTEIN and Sherman Howard's Bub. He's more serious than Boyle's work in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, but not as serious as Howard's work in DAY OF THE DEAD. He's on some middle ground. You get to know his mannerisms, understand his grunting and growling... know when he's laughing, know when he's sad. There is some real gore in this movie, which makes it such a great, unique flick. There's no language, no nudity, totally kid friendly... even the main zombie make-up isn't scary. But then there are some really fucked up zombies and some real life zombie carnage, head shots, ripped limbs and torrents of blood. And some crazy innuendo. Tim Blake Nelson has a live-in zombie woman... his girlfriend, who has a kind of nervous tick which makes her clack her teeth together. She's actually really creepy looking, her lips black and pulled up revealing her totally rotten teeth. But the rest of her is a pretty, blonde woman. Lionsgate should be proud of having this film and I hope they do the right thing and release it intact. I don't think there's any way they're getting away with an PG-13, but they shouldn't try for it. And I pray to the movie gods they don't dump this to video. It's a very solid film, probably better than most films they have on their release slate. Congrats to director Andrew Currie and the screenwriters for putting out something totally professionally put together and uniquely cool. Thanks to K'Sun Ray's parents for letting him star in a movie like this when he's 13 years old (and for giving him that crazy-awesome name). Congrats to K'Sun Ray for looking like a Culkin, but not being a part of that cult of actors (and for having a crazy-awesome name). Props to Jan Kiesser for shooting a beautiful film, the rare Canadian-shot film that doesn't look like it was shot in Canada. The release is scheduled for March 2007. I know that's a long time to wait, but when this flick comes out do support it. It's a fun, smart, entertaining, gory, but somehow still sweet film. How you make a gory zombie movie cute is beyond me, but Currie did it. And he threw some twists in there, some dark material, that just made me laugh out loud. I won't ruin them here, but there are some left turns and lines that are crossed. I'm already jonesing to see it again and, at the time of this writing, it's only been 8 hours since I left the theater. It's that good.

-Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Readers Talkback

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  • Dec. 2, 2006, 2:27 a.m. CST

    also, in, you know, relation to this film

    by BadMrWonka

    I was skeptical as well when I heard Billy Connolly. I love the guy, but he's always a presence, you know? remember in Boondock Saints? even though he played it perfectly, I'm still like...Billy? a vicious killer? um... but hey, I'll give him a shot, everything about this seems like at the very least, it will be a great exercise in the sort of pseudo-50's mock period piece that I just fucking love. like Edward Scissorhands, etc. add in some zombies, and I'm there.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 2:28 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a great concept

    by BenBraddock

    Can't wait to see this - this is the first I've heard of it. Is there a trailer? And Billy Connolly as a zombie? Got to see *that*!

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 3:16 a.m. CST

    stop spamming, Nostrildamus!

    by BadMrWonka

    heh heh...

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 3:20 a.m. CST

    Darn you, Michael Bay!

    by SingingHatchet

    Yeah, yeah, yeah

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 3:30 a.m. CST

    ban Nostrildamus

    by Jubba

    he spams his same stupid message and link in every talkback...ban him i say!

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 3:53 a.m. CST

    man of stool

    by BadMrWonka

    still waiting to hear your reaction to my reaction to your reaction to my german in the Scrubs talkback this week. komm schon!

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 5:44 a.m. CST

    Nostriladamus.... why?

    by Seph_J

    Don't you have a job? But I came here to mention the film, not you, so I will: Not sure if comedy zombie films are any good. Hope the comedy is.... not much.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Sounds decent

    by JackTarmac

    Kind of like that movie Ed and His Dead Mother.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Whats with zombies these days?

    by Darwyn

    ...And I don't mean that in a bad way. I just mean that zombies have had the most cross-over time in other genres or genre-bending work than other movie gimmicks. You've got the zombie romantic comedy, the zombie political commentary, the family-friendly zombie, etc. Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a mole-hill, but it seems like people are able to have a lot of fun with zombies in a way that doesn't stretch to other movie genres. Maybe because zombies are inherently hard to keep from crossing into comedy from horror, making them intrinsically genre-bending; they're not the agile threats of other horror creatures, they moan like the mentally challenged stereotype, and they're pretty stupid. Perfect for comedy. I just wish that whatever genre-bending muse people have for zombies would extend to other movies with as much creatiivity. I think only Edgar Wright seems like he's pumping the same creativity into his other projects that he did into his zombie project. Zombies are just easy to build an inventive plot around I suppose.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 7:52 a.m. CST

    i been waiting for this...

    by Buzzsawlenny

    for over a year..bring it on...and oh yeah..hot fuzz too! mmmmm thats good satire!

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 7:52 a.m. CST

    Totally Irresponsible

    by stvnhthr

    Do we really want a film which teaches our kids it is okay to play with zombies? They will be totally unprepared for when the real upcoming zombie holocaust occurs and be put in unnecessary danger because they want to play catch with the undead. Thank goodness for video games which still teach kids how to go for the head shot. Won’t someone think of the children?

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 8:41 a.m. CST

    is this animated? or live action?

    by triplefive

    im confused. wake 'n bake no help-ee.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Live Action, triplefive

    by georges garvaren

    And filmed in Sitty VanCity. The director is an awesome guy who’s fondness for Zombie and Zombie culture (I believe he goes on the Walk Of The Dead) is one of complete genuineness. I've been looking forward to this ever since I had a random conversations with a guy wearing a t-shit that read: Got Zombie Trouble? They were crew shirts made for Fido and the dude was Andrew Currie, who's the director. It just sounds like so much fun and it's not often that a Zombie flick exists outside its typical guise, that of the post apocalyptic kind. This seems like Leave It To Beaver, but instead of Beaver hanging out with that dink Larry, he’s walking around with a Zombie played by Billy Connolly! It just seems neat and I really cannot wait. So, ah, yeah, live action, or something, braaaains..

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 10:25 a.m. CST

    300 Fido's THIS MARCH!

    by future help

    me like 2007

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 11:05 a.m. CST

    I'll see it... if it's rated R.

    by Veraxus

    Otherwise, fuck it. I'm generally not into zombie movies but this sounds awesome. The only thing I dislike more than zombie movies, though? Censorship. If it's PG-13 I am NOT seeing it. Ever.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 11:08 a.m. CST

    sounds fantastic

    by Lance Rock

    I'm there

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 11:17 a.m. CST

    One-Up, Up and Away!

    by georges garvaren

    Is a brilliant piece of cinema. You're going to pull a Mary Tyler and make it after all - In the porn biz. The homoerotic male porn biz. But at least you will be behind a camera (and probably behind the actors too.) Boink!

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Sure

    by georges garvaren

    but I have no hands. Will this be a problem?

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 12:20 p.m. CST

    "real life zombie carnage"?

    by Cruel_Kingdom

    So zombies are *real* now? What, did they film them out in the wild doing wacky zombie things? Kind of like "Meercat Manor," only with zombies? WTF? Aside from this questionable wording, this film looks fascinating.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 3:30 p.m. CST

    off topic, but

    by QuinnTheEskimo

    Has anyone else heard that Paul Verhoeven is making a movie about Jesus? I saw it on the scroll on some TV show today.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 4:18 p.m. CST

    It's gonna be dumped, that canceled a test screening

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    and that means they couldn't get enough people to see it, FOR FREE. I was signed up and hyped to see this last thursday, but then I got a call saying the screening was canceled. the movie looks pretty awesome, so even if it is released on like 2 screens, or just DVD I might go out of my way to check it out.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 4:37 p.m. CST

    sounds cool

    by Evil Hobbit

    can't wait to see it, hope you get a zombieservant as goodie

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 6:18 p.m. CST

    Wonka and s0nic

    by Anton_Sirius

    Wonka - It literally took me two-thirds of the movie before I realized Connelly was playing the zombie. I kept expecting him to show up as some corporate heavy or something. Quint isn't kidding when he says Billy disappears into the role. In an alternate universe he'd be getting Best Supporting Actor buzz.<p> sdm - chill, dude. They bumped a test screening four months before release for what could have been any of a dozen reasons. It certainly wouldn't surprise me if LG can't figure out how to market this thing, but it's too early to panic about it.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 8:10 p.m. CST

    the last time a test screening was canceled...

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    the last one i was invited to that was canceled, the movie went DTV I think.

  • Dec. 2, 2006, 11:37 p.m. CST

    Sounds Interesting

    by Capt. Spaulding

    Anyway shape or form, I'll see it.

  • Dec. 3, 2006, 12:03 a.m. CST

    Fido, Edmond. Edmond, Fido.

    by Christopher3

    This'll go DTV.

  • Dec. 3, 2006, 3:21 a.m. CST

    Saw world premiere at Toronto international Film Fest

    by hairyproductions

    I loved this movie, this will probably get an R rating, as he says it is quite detailed in the killing of the zombies. This got some of the most hype at Toronto, the day after the premiere everyone was talking about it, it will deffinitely get released.

  • Dec. 3, 2006, 4:07 a.m. CST

    ...

    by bomardv

    ...

  • Dec. 3, 2006, 4:16 a.m. CST

    Stills from Fido

    by BannedOnTheRun

    I'm too lazy to TinyURL. so, figure it out: ropeofsilicon.com/stills.php?id=2582

  • Dec. 3, 2006, 4:18 a.m. CST

    BadMrWonka

    by BannedOnTheRun

    Sometimes SPAM tastes good. Awesome. Ten opposable thumbs up.

  • Dec. 3, 2006, 8:57 p.m. CST

    No way this is a real movie

    by Merkin Muffley

    It is? Holy shit that makes me happy.

  • Dec. 3, 2006, 11:05 p.m. CST

    bannedontherun

    by BadMrWonka

    thank you sir.

  • Dec. 4, 2006, 2:52 a.m. CST

    Saw this in October

    by XyGGy

    I saw this movie at the Vancouver Film Festival in early October. It was well done. It was neat cause some of the zombie extras were in attendance, as well, there was a Q&A with the director after the screening. Very uniqe vision, this film.

  • Dec. 4, 2006, 6:22 a.m. CST

    You had me at, “Ahoy!”

    by Evil Chicken

    This sounds great. As a testament to my parenting skills, I’m gonna bring my daughter. She’s a huge Max Brooks fan. We’ll be looking for it in March.

  • Dec. 4, 2006, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Head Shot

    by triflic

    There is something blackly funny about teaching kids in school how to do an accurate 'head shot' - one of many great little dark-kitch moments in Fido. Also, if you can find it, the writer of FIDO made a hilarious short film called (co-incidently) HEAD SHOT, which features an actor auditioning for a film, which somehow he doesn't notice is actually a snuff film, and because he is so bad, he actually doesn't get the part. It's hilarious! These guys have an innocent and funny sense of humour that they apply to totally inappropriate things...and make it work anyway.

  • Dec. 5, 2006, 4:37 a.m. CST

    Better than Romero's Land of the Dead

    by XyGGy

    It is. LOTD was decent. But not great.