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Zombillénium

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Zombillénium Movie Poster Image
Animated French horror-comedy has some violence.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 78 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence

Cartoonish violence, demonic imagery. Man shoots a rifle at main characters. Car chase. Antagonist shoves, knocks out teen girl. Lead character, after dying and coming back as a demon, goes to his daughter's school and chokes her teacher. 

Sex

During amusement park ride, female skeleton, clothed, lands in front of potential investors in the amusement park with her legs spread open. 

Language

Infrequent mild profanity. "Damn," "hell." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol and wine drinking in a bar, including a drunken patron. Drinking at a party. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Zombillénium is a 2017 French comedy-horror animated movie in which a recently-deceased government inspector joins a cast and crew of undead in a Halloween theme park. Expect some demonic imagery and cartoonish violence. Also, when the lead character transforms into a demon, he goes to his daughter's school and chokes one of her stern teachers. In another scene, while investors are taking one of the rides in the theme park, a female skeleton, clothed, falls in front of them and lands in front of them with her legs spread. A young girl learns that her father has died.  A teen girl is shoved and knocked out. Alcohol drinking, including a drunken bar patron. Rifle shots during a car chase. Language includes "damn" and "hell." Overall, some of the imagery and the themes, such as labor struggle and revolution, make this best for mature teens and older. 

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What's the story?

Hector works for the government as a safety inspector. Irritated by ZOMBILLENIUM, an infamous theme park on the outskirts of town, he decides to pay them an unannounced visit, in the hopes of finding any pretense to shut them down so that his young daughter will stop asking him if they can go. Hector is given a walkthrough of the premises by CEO Francis Von Bloodt. When it appears that Hector is going to carry through on his threats to shut down the park, Von Bloodt kills him with a bite to the neck. Hector, unknowingly now one of the undead, is trapped in the theme park and makes the discovery that all the employees of the park are undead souls working for the Devil to operate the theme park. They will be sent to Hell should the theme park go out of business. Hector's guardian is Gretchen, a Goth teen guitarist who works at the park as an intern and also happens to be the Devil's daughter. In addition to missing his daughter and being in denial about his own death, Hector soon sees how Zombillénium is segregated among the different monsters, and at the top are the vampires, led by heartthrob pop star Steven. Hoping to find a way to reconnect with his daughter, Hector -- now looking much more demonic with a menacing frame and two horns on his head -- decides that he'll find a way to be more of a draw to the park than Steven. But when Steven bamboozles Francis out of ownership of the theme park, all of the souls who work there must find a way to rise up and stop the wicked British vampire. 

Is it any good?

This has a somewhat interesting premise but doesn't quite deliver. Zombillénium isn't a bad movie, but it doesn't transcend any inevitable comparisons to Tim Burton movies. Even the self-aware Pixaresque ironical takes on vampires, demons, etc. feels shopworn by this point. And when the lead character Hector, newly dead, starts to transform into a demon, his resemblance to Hellboy is hard to ignore. While many of the big-picture comedy premises work, the sight gags and one-liners, more often than not, fall flat. 

That said, it's a uniquely socialist satire on the undead. The idea of "class struggle" is a big source of the humor undergirding the entire story, with most of the undead either lurching around with a broom sweeping up after tourists or working the counters selling ice cream. The idea of Gretchen, the teen Goth girl who is also the Devil's daughter, working for the park as an unpaid intern is a rewarding joke that keeps on giving. These ideas are successfully executed in the movie, but these original concepts don't quite overcome all the aspects of the movie that are unoriginal. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Zombillénium was originally a comic book series. What would be the challenges in adapting a comic book series into a feature-length film? 

  • How does the movie use satire and dark humor to address themes such as celebrity worship, internship, unionization, and the gap between rich and poor?

  • How does the movie use, and sometimes poke fun of, the well-worn stories of zombies, vampires, and devils?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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