A Surprisingly Original Take On The Zombie Trope
Zombie At 17 is a teen thriller, loosely playing on the same tropes seen in previous Lifetime “At 17” films with just enough originality to see it through to the end. While some of the acting is a little wooden and at times melodramatic, Zombie At 17 is an enjoyable family feature and a surprisingly original take on the tired zombie trope.
The story begins with a frantic introduction to teenager Tia Scott (Celeste Desjardins) as she scrambles to open a diary to remember key details of her life. It turns out she suffers from a rare disease, one that sees her devolving into a brain-craving zombie that threatens to destroy her life. To make matters worse, Tia’s friend Riley (Gabriel Darku) is accidently killed by her other friend Jason (Connor McMahon). After explaining to the police what happened, Jason and his girlfriend work together to silence Tia while she deals with her life threatening illness. These two storylines work together harmoniously, allowing enough time for them both to grow and flesh out on their own before converging at the end for the inevitable climactic showdown.
While the story itself plays out well and does just about enough to see it through to the end, the melodramatic tone and tendency for some of the supporting cast to over-act their lines does hold this one back from being a more enjoyable title. Make no mistake about it, Zombie At 17 is a movie specifically tailored for the drama rather than thrills and for that reason, some of the more dramatic aspects do sometimes play out as unintentional humour. It’s an easy to watch film though but those expecting something substantial may be left wanting. Much like Goosebumps that dropped earlier this month, the over-the-top acting and incredulous storyline lend itself well to the target market and for the most part, Zombie At 17 pulls this off well.
As can be expected from a TV movie, budget restraints and lacklustre special effects are noticeable during parts of the film. Riley’s death featuring a trickle of bright red blood and the various cosmetic effects on Tia as she slowly devolves into a zombie are such examples but the film makes up for it with its enjoyable but slightly cliched story.
Zombie At 17 isn’t perfect and those expecting a serious drama or thriller will be left wanting. The melodramatic tone and over the top acting lend itself well to the target market and as an unintentional light-hearted thriller, Zombie At 17 fits the bill perfectly.