I suppose the adventures of a dead corpse wouldn’t be so amazing…

A fairly original concept in an oversaturated subgenre, done in a unique format.  But, is originality enough to make this one rise above the (zombie) pack?

After becoming a zombie and making a meal of his wife and daughter, John Romero develops a bit of a conscience and decides that it’s time to side with the living.  He begins a desperate search for the last remaining family member, his son, who has survived a zombie attack or two of his own and is now under the tutelage of a mad scientist who has his own stake in the undead game.  While searching, John will fight demons and monsters in the underworld and learn the true meaning of non-life.

The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse
Directed by
Justin Paul Ritter
Cast
Maria Olsen, Lee Perkins, Marshal Hilton
Release Date
2013
Jason’s Grade: C

 
I’m said to say that the original concept, based on a graphic novel by Ken Haeser and Buzz Hasson, becomes a bit average when translated to screen in this adaptation.  Firstly, animation is an inspired choice for material such as this, but, unfortunately, the animation style chosen just doesn’t work.  Looking a bit like well made cut scenes from a video game, the visuals become a bit tedious.  In particular, it loses a lot of its fluidity during the action scenes.  This wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if it had felt like a stylistic choice, but it definitely appears to be more about limitation.  The dialogue scenes don’t fare much better, seemingly undecided as to whether they want to be fully animated or ape the style of the graphic novel.  It doesn’t help, either, that the majority of the voice actors are not able to sell the material particularly well.

While I have not read the source material, I can’t help but feel as if the writers attempted to force too much material into a feature running time, resulting in both a feeling that the film is overcrammed and yet still left a lot of the good stuff out.  Another format that allows for more room to branch out might have been more successful – perhaps a web series or motion comic.


Things are certainly not all bad, however.  The zombie subgenre is one of the most overdone, so it was a relief that Living Corpse dealt in new territory.  The idea of a zombie who becomes a bit of a superhero (for lack of a better word) is a fun one and not something that we see every day.  The filmmakers are able to get a good bit of mileage out of the novel concept laid out by the book.  They are also able to work well within some of the deeper themes – this is not just a zombie on the hunt for brains; he’s a zombie in search of his own soul.  The depth is certainly not lost in this adaptation, but I can only imagine the book has more room to breathe and explore this most interesting aspect even further.  Special mention also goes to voice actor Ryan McGivern, whose Worthless Merk provides some well needed comic relief and composer Daniel Iannantuono for a score that fits (and even elevates) the atmosphere greatly.

Jason’s Final Thoughts:

While not a total bust, The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse feels a bit more like a well made advertisement for the book that it is based upon.  The originality and depth that are hinted at within are compelling enough to make many seek out the source material with the intention of exploring the concept further.  I just may do that myself, in fact.  Worth a rental for the curious, this one lands squarely in the middle.

Review by Jason Howard, Lead Entertainment Writer