Also posted at http://www.revenantmagazine.com/)
Right, I feel it’s about time I try out something new here. Up until now I’ve seen big-budget Hollywood horror, foreign language zombie flicks, gory comedies, and the ubiquitous shot-on-video fan productions. Where else can this genre go? How about a one-man production, animated, OTT zombie gorefest? Well here we go. Frank Sudol pretty much single-handedly put this little number together. And by single handed I mean he directed, voice acted, designed, animated, scored, edited, produced, scripted, and just generally did EVERYTHING. That is one hard-working dude!
City of Rott tells the story of Fred, one of the few survivors of an apocalyptical zombie plague as he wanders around town looking for a new pair of slippers. With only a talking walking-frame for comfort, Fred plods around buildings, bridges and streets fighting off all the hundreds (maybe even thousands) of the walking dead using his badass ninja moves, as well as just clobbering them over the head with his walker. Well, mostly just using the walker. (he is pretty old, after all). He does meet several nutjob survivors along the way, but they either want to just nail themselves into wooden boxes, or just get out of the city all together. Neither of these are options for Fred because they don’t involve him finding new loafers.
For the first 50 minutes or so of the film all that basically happens is that Fred moves from setpiece to setpiece, bashing in Zombie skulls with his handy walking frame. This is all well and good. Gore flies liberally around, there is some comedy, and even a little bit of plot! However, when Fred starts to realise his predicament thing start to turn somewhat sour (for both Fred and the film itself). The final 20 minutes seems like an entirely different add-on, with several new characters thrown in that were never around beforehand, and a bizarre sidestory which suggests that the cure for all this zombism lies in Donuts. (Mmm, donuts!).
However, the majority of the film is pretty decent. Once I got used to the cartoon style effect (which reminded me of an old childhood cartoon – Ivor the Engine) I started to sit back and appreciate this movie. OK, the story isn’t much deeper than a (bloody) puddle, and nothing much happens for the majority of the film, but there is a lot to enjoy. Cartoon gore and some great nods to Romero (for example a poster on the mall wall states “At Night, Dawn Day will sing This Land”!), as well as some digs at consumerism and how we are all turning into automatons for trying to be just like everyone else. Plus it gets bonus points for being a fanboy flick that doesn’t just involve the director getting some mates together and throwing some fake blood on them. Frank actually put A LOT of effort into this, and it shows.
Gore Score B
Norks Score F
Originality Score C
Overall Score C