Director – Andrew Currie

Writers – Robert Chomiak, Andrew Currie & Dennis Heaton

Director of Photography – Jan Kiesser

Editor – Roger Mattiussi

Music – Don McDonald

Producers – Blake Corbet & Mary Anne Waterhouse

Lions Gate Films. 91 minutes. Rated R for zombie-related violence.

STARRING: Carrie-Anne Moss (Helen Robinson), Billy Connolly (Fido), Dylan Baker (Bill Robinson), K’Sun Ray (Timmy Robinson), Tim Blake Nelson (Mr. Theopolis) and Henry Czerny (Mr. Bottoms).

Unless you’ve been holed up in an underground bomb shelter since 1968, you know the story. But just to make sure everyone is on the same page, Fido begins with an informative newsreel, at once setting the time and tone for this fetchingly off-beat film.

Due to the required unexplainable astronomical anomaly, the corpses of the recently dead have been re-animated, seeking to feed on human flesh. Fortunately, Zomcon has discovered the means in which to fight back: destroying the head of the zombie, erecting large barriers between the “wild” and still-civilized communities, and finally, developing “zombie collars” which effectively “tame” the flesh-consuming monsters allowing them to be used for manual labor.

When Helen Robinson (Carrie-Anne Moss; Matrix Trilogy, Disturbia) decides to bring home a zombie servant so she doesn’t have to be part of the only family in the neighborhood without one, the story begins.

Part Night of the Living Dead, part Lassie, this movie manages to cover material that would have fit just as well in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil or more recently, Oscar-winner American Beauty.

Timmy Robinson (K’Sun Ray, in an impressive debut) takes a special interest in the new family “pet” and names him the titular Fido (Billy Connelly, in a role that didn’t require much memorization). After a few adventures it is clear that the two share a special bond, and as Fido becomes more important to both Timmy and his mother, complications arise from both within the family and with the larger world around them.

Dylan Baker (Spiderman trilogy, Happiness) absolutely shines as Bill Robinson, a troubled husband and parent whose only kill during the “Zombie Wars” was his own father. Baker has made a career out of playing similar roles, but in Fido he is allowed to bring life to a character whose detailed arc could only take place in this movie’s universe. In fact, all of the leads, including Tim Blake Nelson as a neighbor with a peculiar appetite and Henry Czerny as Zomcon Chief of Security bring a surprising amount of depth to roles in what can only be described as a cult film.

But jamming all these characters and a healthy serving of plot twists into a short 91 minutes meant something else had to take second stage. In this case, there are a few questions that the movie raises that never feel resolved by the film’s end, including the can of worms opened by a decision Fido makes at one point that contradicts everything the viewer knows about zombies.

However, some loose ends serve to enhance the depth of the film. One unresolved exchange between Timmy and his parents sticks out as he asks questions about God and the zombie filled world around him. While his father doesn’t want his son to dwell on questions that don’t have easy answers, his mother thinks it’s good that their son is asking about the world he lives in.

The interesting thing about most zombie movies is that the zombie can act as a cipher for whatever agenda the filmmaker or viewer happens to be focused upon. Fido is interesting because it asks, “What if the zombie is us?” That’s a deep question for a comedy about flesh-eating monsters, we’re lucky to have filmmaker Andrew Currie asking it.

Darryl A. Armstrong