Review: Fido (2006)

D: Andrew Currie
S: K'Sun Ray, Carrie-Anne Moss, Dylan Baker, Billy Connolly, Henry Czerny
Fido is an odd movie.  I suppose that's really an understatement, but ultimately it's the best description that I can come up with.  In part, it's exactly what you would expect from a comedy(?) that is based on the premise of domesticated zombies and what happens when the technology controlling them goes wrong.  Of course, it's also a variation on the classic "boy and his dog" genre...with the zombie taking the place of the dog.
The Robinson family is just like any other 50s-era family, however in this universe rather than recovering from World War 2, the 50s revolve around the recovery from a world-wide "zombie war".  At the end of the war, a company designed technology that allowed the zombie hordes to be "domesticated" through the use of an electronic collar that removes the zombie's bloodlust and makes them docile and trainable.  In this world, everyone has a zombie-pet, and the more zombies one has, the more prestigious they must be!
But it is here that the Robinsons are not like everyone else.  Bill Robinson (Dylan Baker) hides a secret - he's afraid of zombies.  Petrified, in fact.  Stemming from a childhood trauma, he dodges every attempt made to convince him that they're safe, that they're controlled, and that they're useful.  This, of course, makes his son Timmy (K'Sun Ray) the target of derision and ridicule in school, since they're the only family without a zombie.  Well, until the day that his wife Helen (Carrie-Anne Moss) decides to take it upon herself to obtain one for the household.  And this is where the fun really begins.
You see, Bill isn't the best father - in fact he's pretty much non-existent in his child's life - not to mention his wife's.  He's all but a weekend dad, at best, going out to golf with his work buddies and leaving all of the chores to Helen and relegating his son to the role of a pet at best.  So when the zombie arrives, and both Helen and Timmy realize that he can do more than simple menial tasks (including playiing catch with Timmy, learning to dance with Helen, and other not-exactly-typical zombie actions), "Fido" as he becomes known begins to slowly wean the family away from Bill.
But that's not really the thrust of the movie (which at this point sounds more like a weird zombie-drama than a comedy).  You see, while taking Fido on an unauthorized walk to the park, and playing catch with him, some bullies start throwing rocks at Billy - and Fido protects him, scaring off the bullies.  Unfortunately, one of the rocks also strikes Fido's collar, turning it off just long enough for him to wander into the bushes and bite an old lady neighbor of Timmy's, re-starting a zombie infestation in the town.
It is at this point that things start to get really odd - Helen works with Timmy to hide the fact that Fido is the source of the outbreak, while their new neighbor - the head of "ZomCom's" security division - slowly tracks him down.  Bill begins to resent Fido more and more, and eventually Fido is found out, captured, and sent to ZomCom's facility, where they are using zombies that have been supposedly liquidated as slave labor. 
Anyone who has seen a "boy and his dog" movie knows what comes next, but there's no reason to spoil it all.  While not nearly as clever as Shaun of the Dead, Fido is definitely one of the better horror comedies created in recent memory.  Billy Connolly is unrecognizable as Fido, Carrie-Anne Moss is in fine form, and both Dylan Baker and Henry Czerny play up their respective roles almost to parody, but stopping at just the right balance.  Overall, a strong, funny movie - if you can get over it's basic oddness.