Well this is a first for me, a full length zombie cartoon. Before I say anything else it definitely deserves a mention that this movie is the sole creation of one, Frank Sudol who does absolutely everything in the movie, from script to animation including all the voices and like the movie or not, that’s fucking impressive.
The plot is actually quite inventive, although its execution is a little bit irritating. Basically you find out that the ‘zombies’ in this film are the result of a parasitic worm, two species actually. One which basically turns its host into a traditional zombie the other which takes a more symbiotic approach and inhabits the host who provides it with food, with the nasty side effect that the host hears voices in their head and suffers from premature aging.
It is a host, Fred, a pensioner who is the victim of the second species of worm who is the main character, the other voice in his head, also that of a pensioner, guides Fred away from harm but steers him towards food. This is perhaps where the film first gets a little irritating as a lot of the dialog consists basically of two old men winging at one another. I mean who can take a concentrated 86 minutes of listening to their granddad going on at them?
Basically the plot surrounds Fred as he stubbornly searches, rather absurdly, for a new pair of slippers; despite the hordes of zombies. Along the way he meets various other survivors and he and them must defend themselves against the ravenous hordes. As the movie is essentially a cartoon I feel compelled to say a little about the animation, although I will freely admit I know nothing about it so I can only comment on the visual element, not the technical.
The animation is simple enough, kind of like ‘South Park’, with the odd little effect thrown in here and there. Overall it’s pretty cool. What really stands out, other than the excellent quality of the drawings, is the gore. Although a cartoon, Disney this isn’t as the gore is quite excessive; I only wish we could see this level of violence in ‘live’ cinema. There are plenty of messy headshots, flesh ripping/eating and decapitations all the way through all of which are really cool.
The story itself is ok, although it does get a little bit disjointed at about the 55minute mark.
There are some negatives I’m afraid to say. The first is that the voices of the characters sound a little bit irritating sometimes, and there are some bits which are meant to be funny which, well, aren’t. The second is that, as with all ‘artsy’ films there is a message behind the madness. Well in ‘City of Rott’ as the tagline is ‘Think while you still can’ and so as you may guess the underlying symbolism is the usual criticism of advertising, and our corporate/consumer driven society. This I felt was a little bit obvious and a tad pretentious. But lets be honest, it’s his film, he can do what he wants.
Overall, ‘City of Rott’ is an impressive effort which whilst being excessively gory is not as strong in other areas. I have to say 86 minutes was a testing my attention a little, I reckon an hour would have done nicely. Now I’m not in the habit of criticising things I know that I could never achieve so I will leave on a bit of a positive, in that, whilst ‘City of Rott’ is an admirable effort alone I think that should Sudol collaborate with others on future projects the results could be so much better. I look forward to that.