‘Better Off Zed’ (2018) Movie Review

I used to really love zombie movies, but over the past 10 years or so, they have became a done to death (no pun intended) subgenre. While I’ve experienced burnout on zombies films, I do still dig the occasional zombie comedy. When I saw Better Off Zed on the shelf of my local department store, I picked it up, hoping it could scratch my zombie comedy itch. Did Better Off Zed deliver the goods or was it dead on arrival?

Better Off Zed stars Christine Woods (I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore 2017) as Paige and Graham Sibley (Sully 2016) as Guy. Travis Stevens (Shelf Life 2011) directed the film from a screenplay by Amy Tofte (Other Side 2016).

Better Off Zed’s synopsis:

For the last decade, Guy has worked a mentally and physically demanding 60-hour week, a soul-crushing daily grind that has frayed his nerves; while his wife Paige, a free spirit with multiple fine arts degrees to her name, has spent their marriage chasing creative inspiration.

When the zombie apocalypse arrives, Guy is ecstatic: no more grueling work, no more monotony, no more hopeless future. He spends his days in idyllic splendor, living life in the moment… while Paige snaps into survival mode and takes on the role of pragmatist, figuring out how to secure their perimeter and stretch out their food supply, while following news reports for any glimmer of hope that they might be able to escape.

The couple—in essence—has switched places. And in this new dynamic, all of the small fissures pressured beneath the surface of their relationship finally crack open, forcing them to deal not only with Armageddon, but with a potentially far more horrifying reality… each other.

Better Off Zed is a major case of mismarketing. The film has been heavily marketed as a comedy, and while there are some doses of humor, these moments are few and far between. The film is more of a examination of a couple whose relationship dynamic is shifted by the apocalypse. Guy, who is used to working 60 plus hours a week at an unfulfilling job sees this as his chance to finally kick back and relax. His wife, Paige, is an artist who works from home, and she goes a little stir crazy, thinking only of escaping their reality. The film consists of Paige trying to get Guy to be more proactive in their survival and leave their home, while Guy hinders this at every turn with his duplicity, keeping potential survival opportunities a secret until it may be too late.

Graham Sibley and Christine Woods do wonderful jobs playing a married couple who don’t know how to deal with being together all the time. Their lives have done a 180, and while they both still very much love each other, they want different things and find it hard to compromise. The film is at its best when the couple is at odds, as that’s when Guy and Paige’s passion for each other really comes through. When shit really hits the fan, they do what they can to support each other. That makes it all the more heartbreaking when Better Off Zed kicks into full-fledged horror mode in the final act, and the film gives a gut punch ending that will leave you wondering what could have been if these two didn’t wait until the last act to help each other.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a feel good zombie comedy, you are better off looking elsewhere. That being said. if you are looking for a zombie/relationship drama with occasional laughs that isn’t afraid to go full dark in the final act, give Better Off Zed a shot. you can find it on Amazon Here.

About Charlie Cargile

Indianapolis based Horror journalist. Lover of most things Horror (especially Indie), Pop Punk and the strange and unusual.

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A scene from PIGGY, a Magnet release. ©Jorge Fuembuena. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

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