Having seen several advertisements in Fangoria for this movie alongside super low-budget horror flicks, I thought this was a shitty horror film about a little girl directing a zombie movie. Mildly interesting premise, but I'll pass.
Flash forward to 2 years later: I'm stumbling upon Hisayasu Sato's Japanese horror movie The Bedroom on Youtube. But it's not a clip, it's the ENTIRE MOVIE for free! So it turns out MVDfilm's Channel on Youtube has tons of obscure movies in their full versions. I advise everyone reading this to check out that channel now! So one of these movies on the channel is Zombie Girl: The Movie and the description says it is a funny, tender documentary that follows 12-year-old Emily Hagins and her family on her first feature film.
In the documentary, Emily has just written a feature film screenplay about zombies and has begun to cast and actually shoot it. She uses a small, home-video camera to record her actors (some adult, some children). Her mom and dad help her by filling out paperwork, recording sound with a makeshift boom mic, driving actors to and from set, and slating the various scenes. Her mother does everything she can to support her daughter's dream, which also includes constructing make-up effects which the mom is actually not bad at. It is actually amazing how supportive the parents are and how the mother goes out of her way to make the film work even though she has an actual job. Emily's movie is pretty damn violent too! It's titled Pathogen and it ends up coming together astonishingly well for a movie made by a middle-school kid.
Zombie Girl chronicles how Emily has always been fascinated with movies since as early as her parents can remember. Her parents see big things in her future, which ultimately drives the marketing success of her zombie extravaganza. It's not a perfectly well-rounded documentary though. We get to view the mother becoming a little tired and frustrated at one point in the production, but it would've done well for the movie to document more of the conflicts brought on by halts in production and so forth. Emily herself should've been interviewed more too. I would've liked to have known what inspired her specific script, besides a crush on a movie called Undead. What internally drove her to keep trying? Also, an instant messaging relationship with someone online late at night was briefly mentioned by her mother, but it's never delved deeper into.
Once Emily sells out a screening of her movie at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, you can't help but be floored by what she has accomplished just after her 13th birthday. And she has made two more features since. I have to go reexamine my life. Rating: 4 out of 5.