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6 Degrees Entertainment

'American Zombie'
(DVD / NR / 2008 / Cinema Libre Studios)p> Overview: Indie filmmakers Grace Lee and John Solomon (both playing themselves) team up to shoot a documentary about dysfunctional zombie folk - or Revenants - struggling to find acceptance in Los Angeles.

DVD Verdict: In 2005, UCLA film school graduate Grace Lee gave the world her documentary THE GRACE LEE PROJECT. Lee located women all across the country with the same name in an effort to address societal preconceptions about Asian-American females. So, you can imagine after that film and two other acclaimed works of non-fiction, shooting a zombie movie is an odd left-field turn for the respected filmmaker.

But on further inspection, Lee and John Solomon — who play themselves in the film — are doing exactly that same thing in this project that they have all along…for the most part. Despite its obvious predecessors, 'American Zombie' is not a mockumentary. It is a sociological look at a host of sensitive cultural subjects, ranging from ageism and sexism to harassment and bigotry, that just so happens to feature subjects that are members in the community of the living dead.

As the crew continues to follow the subjects through their daily lives, a dangerous rift is forming between Lee and Solomon. She desires to capture the struggles with a trained and objective eye. He, on the other hand, seems dead set on finding hidden caches of decomposing body parts strewn across the kitchen counters and bags of brains chilling in the vegetable drawers of their refrigerators. This clear break in ideals leads the filmmakers to redress their desires for shooting the documentary.

Still as they proceed they learn of an annual zombie retreat titled “Live Dead”. A wilderness festival filled with fellow Revenants, Rock Music and Recreation. Determined to garner an invite to this exclusive and highly monitored event, the pair ultimately convince Joel to bring them along. Once they arrive and events begin to cull and uneasy air about them and the duo become more determined than ever to uncover the mysterious subculture that exists in the world of the zombie.

'American Zombie' is far from the perfect film. The set-up is long and the need for director Lee to make the project feel like a legitimate documentary causes the beginning to drag on a bit as the audience waits for something interesting to occur. Even with the need to dissect the lives of these people taking up better than half the film, the project still manages to work on a basic level. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Commentaries with the Cast, Writers and Director
Behind The Scenes Featurette
Theatrical Trailer