First released under the title Die-ner (Get it?), this is a movie that has struggled enormously with finding a good name. As bad as the original title was it at least held some sort of connection to the content of the film. Instead it has been changed to the preposterous KFZ:Kentucky Fried Zombies, presumably to attract similar audiences that have made cult hits out of things like Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus or Sharknado.
It had a disarming effect at first, the premise of the movie is actually fairly interesting, something I was not at all expecting: a murderer/robber pulls in to a lonely diner but finds his job interrupted by his victims coming back to life. A little basic, but a take on the zombie apocalypse I haven’t seen before.
Ken (Joshua Grote) is the serial killer who takes a young married couple and a local police officer hostage in his attempts to leave the diner having killed the waitress and cook.The film opens with a five-minute long shot of Rose(Maria Olsen), the waitress, conversing with the mysterious customer (Ken). She tells Ken her life story, the entire time the camera never leaves her face. She gets up to get back to her work and Ken kills her. Immediately the film steps away from standard low-budget horror convention; stylistically the movie gives an admirable attempt to something different.
The problem is, that the film doesn’t really entertain. There is nothing much about it to emotionally impact on the audience so instead entertainment should be the next port of call.The script is what betrays the premise here. Dialogue that may have sounded snappy or witty on the page really falls flat on-screen. Occasionally a line will bring out a small chuckle but it too often strays towards cringe territory,
“Why is the bag full of duct tape and rope?”
“It’s my duct tape and rope bag, what else do you think I’m gonna keep in there?”.
As a low-budget film it is acceptable to have a poorer quality picture, although KFZ looks like it was shot on children’s video recording equipment of yesteryear, what is not acceptable is to have such a low standard of sound quality. Particularly in the case of KFZ, a dialogue heavy film. This is particularly noticeable in the opening sequence, during Rose’s story Ken’s lines are hard to hear and sound muffled, a dub of re-recorded dialogue would have helped enormously.
The poor quality is made all the more disappointing by the surprisingly good gore effects. Used in such a spare manner the moments of gore have more impact when they do pop up. The pace of the action in the first three-quarters of the film is slow, when the final scenes descend in to standard zombie flick convention it negates any earlier attempts to do anything different. With intestinal gore, a crowd of zombies pulling someone to pieces and cars failing to start KFZ quickly becomes forgettable once the end credits roll.
An admirable attempt at a low-budget zombie film but KFZ falls down in too many areas to be laudable. The characters aren’t good enough to be involving and the script in general is pretty flimsy. Even the most die-hard fans of the genre won’t find much to get excited about here. A zombie does get stuck to the floor with duct tape though and the saddest part is that it’s the most entertaining part of the movie.
Director: Patrick Horvath
Running Time : 84 mins (from the DVD case, 75 mins on IMDb)