Watch this first:
“Zombie in a Penguin Suit” is a beautiful, extremely well done, zombie film. I hate zombie films. Honestly I feel like trying to put out any sort of horror/survival zombie flick is one of the most redundant things a filmmaker could do these days. It’s every students first feature, there’s hardly anything ever original about them, the genre has been exhausted ten times over, and I am just sick and tired of seeing them continue to pop up. Not even George Romero can pull them off anymore. However, for director Chris Russell, this is not the case. In fact I wouldn’t even call “Zombie in a Penguin Suit” a zombie film. I would say its a toss-up between either a twisted dark comedy or a modern zombie-esque noir film.
The short film is pretty much just a moment in time when a poor soul gets infected by your run of the mill zombie horde, all the while he is wearing this ridiculous penguin suit. It is insane the amount of character and depth that is added due to the zombie wearing this suit. It’s hilariously twisted, but also very solemn at some times. Especially the very first sequence, where all you see is the subtle transition from the human eye full of life, to the deathly zombie eye full of… death. I felt the sadness of it without even seeing the characters face first, it was awesome. Then immediately after, it is revealed that this poor victim has died in a humiliating penguin costume. From that point on, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the shots you see of this penguin man gnaw into the leg of a soldier, tackle some one on a stairway, and waddle his way through the wake of devastation.
I must also point out the beautiful imagery and cinematography put into this short film. The shots in the church, the crosses, and the field of flowers shots were just stunning. Speaking of the church scene, wow. I thought it was a very well done emotional turn around in the story, and showed me a whole new part of this zombie afflicted world I could’ve swore I’d known inside-out.
Afterwards, our penguin fiend waddles a little longer until he finds himself twice as decayed, and some how in the middle of a newborn suburban neighborhood(which I’m interpreting as society building a new home for themselves away from the infection?). It’s very interesting to me, what Russell does here. It obviously implies our penguin hero is about to be shot in the head, but instead of just showing it happen(like how a million and one typical film students would have done it), he lets it linger, ending the film with an eerie, sad, uncomfortable stare contest between you and Mr. Undead Happyfeet. It’s also notable that when you see him enter this area, half of his brain is showing and his hood is down, which was a great way to show that the character we knew before is now totally absent, and at the end of his road. The zombie in a penguin suit gives you one last gaze and roll credits.
It was a very cool experience to watch, and established in only 7 minutes! The team even managed to create a sense of nostalgia, rolling what seemed to be home movie footage of the zombie during his time of living. The music was also pretty good, it fit well, giving you the common ingredients of piano, cello, and some pizzicato, put together to sound like what I felt I’ve heard before in almost every other silent indie film I’ve ever seen. Nonetheless, the short film was very well done, the entire crew pulled it off, and most importantly, it was able to make me feel a connection with the story. So I say a tip of the hat to Chris Russell, and their whole production team. For more information, check out their facebook, and they also have a website.
I give Zombie in a Penguin Suit:
3.5 out of 5