The Rise of The Zom-Com

A horde of zombie romantic comedies are being unleashed…

The trailer for Burying the Ex landed this week – the latest film to feature romantic trysts with the undead.

In this one, Max (Anton Yelchin from Fright Night) tries to break up with his girlfriend (Ashley Greene) who dies accidently, only to rise from the ground as a super clingy zombie. The undead Evelyn re-enters his life, eating Max’s brother and adding levels to an already complicated relationship.

Zombies are the latest in a line of ghouls and villains to be given new life in a broad range of romantic comedies, where being dead is no longer a barrier to love. Vampires and werewolves got the empathy treatment in shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood, where both the living and dead courted each other over many engrossing years. It’s only fair that the undead get their turn at love, because zombies are people too, or something.

The trend has not been without its flaws. Released last year, the similarly themed Life After Beth, starring Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) and John C. Reilly, featured Plaza as a zombie who rises from her grave, continuing her relationship with Zach (Dane DeHaan) as if nothing had happened. The film got mixed, mostly negative reviews, despite Plaza’s charm.

Released in 2013, Warm Bodies, easily the most popular in the trend, had zombie Nicholas Hoult love-struck with Teresa Palmer. Despite a jumbled third act, the refreshing formula of a zombie falling head over heels for a live human and having no idea what to do about it was thoroughly enjoyable. Rob Corddry and John Malkovich joined in as a zombie confidant and hunter of the undead respectively, discovering that even the deceased can breathe life into a genre inundated with formulaic romance and tired comedy.

The newest iteration is CW series iZombie starring Rose McIver as Liv Moore, a none-too subtle dig at the show’s premise. In its first comedic season, zombie Liv steals brains from the morgue, absorbing their memories to clear up unresolved crimes. With hints of romance, the most novel entry in the comedy zombie trend has promise.

It’s not easy to create endearing romances involving rotting, repulsive dead flesh which lumbers towards you with outstretched arms. Hollywood are having a go at it, with iZombie and Burying the Ex potential trailblazers in a new sub-genre of romantic comedies where love is literally life and death.

On FilmInk