Pilar is a film maker who is looking desperately for work, when her boss tells her that he wants her to do a more ethnic piece with a Latino flavor Pilar finds herself researching a Santero by the name of Roque who doesn’t just offer his clients a few charms but also hope from the bottom of his heart. It is during her research however that she learns of another Santero who calls herself Mama Luna who unlike Roque has a much darker reason for doing her magic.
Directed by: Ricardo Islas
Starring: Adriana Catano, Roberto Montesinos, Monika Munoz
“What these people need is something to believe in!”
So here is a movie put out by Maxim (yep that Maxim) called Zombie Farm. Okay that image you have in your head after reading that statement is completely wrong. Ricardo Islas film is actually very intelligent with the right amount of humor and horror mixed into a great cocktail with a Latino flavor added for some spice.
Zombie Farm starts off by introducing Pilar who is a film maker who is looking for work. She films a testimony by a battered woman and takes it in to her boss who isn’t pleased. Pillar’s boss informs her that he wants her work to be more ethnic, the station needs a story with a Latino flavor. It is only after Pilar gets home does she see a horrible commercial for a Santero who calls himself Roque.
The next day Pilar shows up at the address mentioned in Roque’s add and once again runs into a battered woman in the waiting room. The battered woman’s name is Ana Maria, and her husband is a very abusive man. Ana Maria hopes that Roque will give her a spell or charm for her husband Antonio so that he will once again be a good man instead of a drunk who beats his wife. Roque knows that he is a sham and when Ana Maria presents her story Roque quickly takes off his wig and the real man comes out, he informs Ana Maria that unfortunately there is nothing that he can do. Ana Maria leaves frustrated and soon in her local news paper finds an add for another Santero named Mama Luna who she seeks her out to help with her problem. Pilar see’s Roque for the sham that he is and immediately wants to do a piece about the Santero.
At first Pilar only wants to film Roque to show that he is a sham and that the people put their believes above their wallets and will believe anything that they are told. It is only after she starts to know Roque does she realize that the man actually does have a heart and what he does is give those who come to see him confidence with his “potions and spells”. Roque also does house visits, mainly an elderly woman who gets lonely. The heartbreaking sequence is caught brilliantly by Ricardo Islas as Roque comforts the old woman who informs him that she cannot pay him because all of her money has come up missing. Pilar then follows Roque as he finds the old woman’s son and chases him down slapping him around and taking back the old ladies money. Yes Roque is a very likeable character.
Wait isn’t this movie called Zombie Farm, where are the zombies you may be asking? Well Ana Maria goes to see Mama Luna who gives her a powder to put into Antonio’s dinner. Antonio eats it and dies, yet he doesn’t die. There is a very creepy scene where Ana Maria rushes into Roques shop to tell him about her situation. He died, but now he never leaves me alone she tells Roque. The whole scene climaxes when zombie Antonio shows up raising all kinds of ruckus. Roque, Ana Maria, and Pilar are soon thrown into a twisted story that brings a familiar old twist to the popular zombie mythos.
Of course being a zombie movie lets discuss the zombies. There really aren’t a whole bunch of the shambling dead throughout Zombie Farm (the actual farm from the title isn’t even seen until close to the end of the film). When the undead are on screen however the makeup is pretty decent and there are even some great gut munching scenes. The zombies in Zombie Farm however do break some of the rules for instance they are really quick and cannot be killed. Zombie Antonio is even shot in the head and simply raises back up. That’s right these aren’t zombies brought on by military experiments or swamp gasses these are old fashion ethnic zombies.
Ricardo Islas took the right path with his film by actually introducing the viewer to several likeable characters with a great script and cast. The fx and gore are there, yet I was actually surprised by the lack of fx due to the film being put out by Maxim.
Don’t let the title or the company putting it out put you off from Zombie Farm check it out for a different twist in this already saturated sub genre market.
Zombie Farm (2009)