It’s turning out to be a very good year for zombie comedy. We had Jim Jarmusch’s deadpan in June, and the long-awaited is coming this fall. And now we have the red band trailer for , Australian Director Abe Forsythe’s new black comedy that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o) takes her young charges on a school field trip to Pleasant Valley Farm. Tagging along as a chaperone is Dave (Alexander England), a failed musician whose nephew is in her class. Dave has a romantic interest in Miss Caroline and is chagrined to discover that he has a rival for her affections: a famous children’s TV personality, Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad), who also happens to be at the farm organizing all the planned activities.
But something has gone terribly wrong at a nearby military base, and a zombie outbreak turns the innocent excursion into a bloody fight for survival. Miss Caroline, Dave, and Teddy join forces to make sure the kids don’t get eaten—and hopefully aren’t traumatized for life by the sight of the ravenous undead.
The red band trailer is pretty graphic in terms of zombie gore, as you might expect from the genre, but it’s also wickedly funny in a gloriously demented way. It opens at the military base, with soldiers being called for duty: “It’s zombies again,” the lieutenant sighs. And since these soldiers know their zombie lore, one asks, “Fast ones, or slow ones, sir?” Fortunately, it’s the slow ones, but they’re still sufficiently mobile to wreak havoc at Pleasant Valley Farm.
Then we get some heartwarming idyllic scenes of Miss Caroline and her charges enjoying the delights of the farm—just before they encounter a ravenous zombie blocking the road so their tram can’t pass. And the clever Miss Caroline keeps her chin up and her face perky, the better to protect the kids, turning zombie avoidance into an elaborate game of tag (all the zombies are “It”). A few rounds of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” make for a soothing nighttime balm. It should be noted that Teddy doesn’t acquit himself admirably, earning a well-deserved punch from Miss Caroline. We’re liking Dave’s chances with her, assuming they all survive.
hits theaters in the UK and Ireland November 15, 2019, and hopefully everywhere soon after. Following Sundance, NEON and Hulu won an intense bidding war for the rights, purportedly with the plan to combine a theatrical release with cross promotion on Hulu’s streaming platform.