The micro-budget horror-comedy "Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies" isn't all that scary or original, and its cheap make-up and fakey digital gore effects are more awful than awesome. But director Mark Newton has learned B-moviemaking's most important lesson: Personality doesn't cost a dime.
Working from a Christian Hokenson screenplay, Newton livens up a routine apocalyptic adventure with regional flavor and a likable cast of colorful older actors and non-generic youngsters. The story follows a dozen or so distinct characters in and around the real town of Charleston, Mississippi, where a chemical company's attempt to control the spread of kudzu inadvertently spawns a zombie plague.
About half of the movie takes place during a music festival, allowing Newton to break up the action with some spirited local blues-rock bands. Once the zombification spreads, the mayhem runs through Charleston's streets, providing a quaint frame to the usual scenes of shambling monsters chowing down on anyone who can't run fast enough.
Subplots involve corporate malfeasance, fumbling romances and two old chefs who have a bitter battle over meat pies. The overall tone is light and breezy, and while the jokes aren't exactly side-splitting, they do add some welcome eccentricity.
‘Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies’
Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes.
Playing: Arena CineLounge, Hollywood