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Foreign Comedy - France - They Came Back / Les Revenants

BUY They Came Back (dvd cover)
Les Revenants
Geraldine Pailhas, Jonathan Zaccai
Directed by Robert Campillo
Original French with English subtitles
Warner Home Video 2005
103 minutes

Trust the French to make a boring, humorless, and verbose movie about zombies. Trust writer director Campillo to waste minutes of footage showing you people walking around with a stunned expression on their face, no action, no comedy, nothing. There is probably some kind of social or psychological message in They Came Back but, like some of the characters, it died a long time before the movie was made.

The premise could have made a decent comedy without being a gory farce like Shaun of the Dead. One morning, the dead come back and unlike in Romero movies they are all dressed in their going to a funeral best and quite healthy looking though a little pale. The story focuses on a little town in France where some thirteen thousand dead people have popped up and the efforts to integrate them back into society and the workforce.

At first, the movie is almost a comedy as the town reacts as if they had been invaded by refugees or a flood or hurricane had hit the village down the road. There is even a comment that the town council is following UN guidelines. The zombies themselves slowly reintegrate society but they are sort of catatonic and not the most energetic people to work with. There is some definite irony in the comment the zombies cannot occupy any high position because they are not very creative: isn't upper management known for its lack of creativity. There is also a moment where someone explains the finding of an American psychologist so as to give some kind of explanation to a movie you long have given up on.

If this is a movie about closure, as in what do you do if you got closure about the death of a loved one and it comes back, this is a zombie-paced effort that in the end says nothing.

For some unexplained reason, the dead blow something up and decide to go live underground. End of story.

Of course, it would have been easy to say the acting is catatonic but even that might be interpreted as a compliment.

Avoid this stiff.

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