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Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Zom 100: Zombie ni Naru made ni Shitai 100 no Koto

Japan 2023

Comedy, Horror

Yusuke Ishida

Eiji Akaso
Mai Shiraishi
Shuntaro Yanagi
Yui Ichikawa
Mayo Kawasaki
Akari Hayami
Miwako Kakei
Kazuki Kitamura

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Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead - Film Screenshot 1

Story: Akira Tendo (Eiji Akaso) has finally found his dream job. But after having worked in the company for a few days, his euphoria quickly dissolves, especially since his boss Kosugi (Kazuki Kitamura) is bothering him a lot. Not only does Akira have to work overtime endlessly, but sometimes he even has to pull several all-nighters one after another. He doesn't even feel like getting up in the morning anymore. Trapped in this horrible everyday life a year passes, and when he leaves his apartment one day, he finds that zombies are wandering around everywhere. However, the apocalypse turns out to be a huge gift for Akira, because now he no longer has to go to work, and he can finally do the things that he is really interested in. So, he makes a list of all the things he wants to do before he gets bitten. During one of his "purchases" at a supermarket, he meets Shizuka (Mai Shiraishi). He offers her to stay together, but she is a lone wolf and disappears again. Eventually, he remembers his best friend Kencho (Shuntaro Yanagi), with whom he recently had a fight. He calls him and when he finds out that he is still alive, he sets off to get to him. From then on, the two stay together and run into Shizuka again. The three of them have the same destination, even though they have different reasons for wanting to go there, and so they travel together through the zombie apocalypse for a while.

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Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead - Film Screenshot 4

Review: You would think that at some point, all the streaming services just would get tired of releasing one zombie movie after the next... But if you take a look at the top 10 lists on Netflix, it becomes clear that this is not the case by a long shot. At least, a flick like this should make sure that it offers some kind of a special twist to the formula that viewers haven't seen a hundred times in similar works before. Admittedly, this is a bit difficult these days, because strictly speaking, the somewhat light-hearted tone of "Zom 100" is nothing out of the ordinary either. In addition, even though the movie includes some social criticism by comparing soullessly slaving away for a company to walking around as a zombie, that's not utterly original either, especially since this parallel is not exactly conveyed in a subtle way. On the other hand, the flick manages to come up with interesting characters and has a few good moments, especially in its little road movie elements. So, you can't really do that much wrong with "Zom 100".

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead - Film Screenshot 5

At the beginning, it also becomes quite clear in which direction the horror comedy wants to go. Akira is a typical office worker who naively believed that he had landed his dream job, only to then be crushed by the mills of his everyday life and unchallenging, but extremely demanding job. Then, when the zombie apocalypse breaks out, he feels like he's been released from prison. Sure, the world may have become dangerous, but Akira is quite cool with it, and rightfully so because he played football at school and is therefore pretty athletic, and above all else fast, which allows him to escape from some dicey situations. At some point, however, he has to ask himself what he actually wants to do with his newfound freedom. There are still so many things he hasn't done yet, and he also needs a new goal in life! Here, the story could have told a young man's search for himself, but unfortunately, this is only dealt with in a pretty superficial manner. To keep things going, though, a few more characters are introduced.

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They turn out to be pretty interesting and the chemistry between them also works. Which is a bit unexpected, as the characters seem quite flat at the beginning, but they actually undergo a transformation and grow as the story progresses. Kencho in particular ends up being rather different from the person we met at the beginning. Mai Shiraishi ("Usogui"), too, manages to add more and more color to the withdrawn Shizuka over time. That way, the movie is able to keep our interest even when the story loses its focus again. And this happens quite a lot. As soon as Akira starts enjoying his new life, the struggle for survival begins (but things never get too serious) and there is an escape from the city, whereas the flick turns into a road movie, including a collage of how the three of them grow together and enjoy their freedom. Of course, towards the end, the three have to deal with a big obstacle and there is also a little bit of drama, so that the movie gets a more serious tone. Fortunately, things don't get too much here.

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Thus, "Zom 100" remains carefree all the way through and therefore offers some light entertainment. The horror fades into the background, even though the threat is at times very palpable, but there is also some humor, which isn't meant to make you laugh out loud, though. Instead, the humor remains quite shallow and is only designed to keep the tone pleasantly relaxed. Still, it must be noted that the lack of good jokes could easily have become a serious point of criticism if it weren't for the pleasant characters. Anyway, the make-up definitely deserves praise, because the zombies have undoubtedly been designed with a lot of love and the number of undead creatures makes the illusion of an apocalypse believable too. There's nothing to complain about in terms of special effects either, and that also applies to the finale, which features an undead shark - and yes, it's even more absurd than it sounds. But since the movie is mainly a comedy, this part also works quite well. Unfortunately, you still get the impression that the director could have gotten more out of it.

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Since the movie is based on a manga by Haro Aso, some of the bad reviews it received could be the result of critics comparing the flick with the source material. In his defense, though, director Yusuke Ishida ("Shin Godzilla") actually does a solid job here. In addition, Akira as the hero also has some peculiarities that manage to win you over to the story. However, the story unfortunately often stumbles around, and even though the socio-critical tone is taken up again at the end (Do we want to sacrifice freedom in order to buy a little more security?), it always only scratches the surface, which is quite sobering. "Zom 100" could have done more here. Despite its more than two hours, the runtime was used anything but sensibly here. Solely the over-the-top finale is able to appease most viewers, even though it might irritate some viewers too. At the end of the day, you get a horror comedy with just a little more positive aspects than negative ones. Be that as it may, thanks to the characters, you will get some good entertainment out of it - even though the movie has not that much more to offer.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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