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It may not be deep, but 'Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies' is bursting with regional flavor

It may not be deep, but 'Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies' is bursting with regional flavor
A scene from the movie "Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies." (Gravitas Ventures)

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.

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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.

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‘Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes.

Playing: Arena CineLounge, Hollywood

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