29th Apr2021

‘Sam and Mattie Make a Zombie Movie’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Sam Suchmann, Mattie Zufelt, Peter Farrelly, Conan O’Brien, Jesse Suchmann, Robert Carnevale, Tyler Schnabel, Madeline Brumby, Suzy Beck, Heather Breen, Johnny Collins, Cheryl Daigle-Stein, Paul ‘Pauly D’ DelVecchio | Directed by Jesse Suchmann, Robert Carnevale

Documentaries about horror movies are some of my favourite things to watch. Over ten years ago I watched the brilliant Zombie Girl: The Movie, the story of a twelve-year-old Emily Hagins making a zombie movie. Just reading about Sam and Mattie Make A Zombie Movie gave me similar vibes so I was looking forward to checking it out.

This documentary follows two friends with Down’s Syndrome, Sam and Mattie, who rally an entire town and more to help them make the zombie movie of their dreams – Spring Break Zombie Massacre.

The documentary is done in two parts. The first shows the process of how the idea of the movie came about, how they promoted the idea and then how they got it made. The second part then shows the actual movie itself but with short interludes showing some ‘behind the scenes’ footage and stories that came about during the making of the film.

The first part is really entertaining and interesting short documentary in which we meet the two main stars of the film and the people that surround them. Similar to Zombie Girl, this shows that the people around the main focus of the movie are just as amazing. This is less about zombies and much more about friendships, community togetherness and breaking stereotypes. It is full of hope, happiness (not without some sorrow) and it is truly inspiring.

It’s really interesting watching the process of two guys’ idea, it going on Kickstarter and then the complexities of working on the script, finances and filming. The people making it, are making it because they really want to… and it shows!

The stars themselves Sam and Mattie are two super likeable guys and their friendship is really nice to watch on screen. Sadly, there are still plenty of misconceptions about people with Down’s Syndrome and this documentary does some great things to help with that.

In truth, the film itself is far from perfect. The story is all over the place and the acting and dialogue is a mixed bag from start to finish. But there are also plenty of good things too. It’s actually funny in places and got a good few laughs from me, it’s completely original too, you’re not going to see another movie like it and that can only be a good thing. The cinematography is impressive and the film honestly looks great. On top of that, clearly a lot of effort has gone into the make-up and costumes for the zombies, demons and gore. The Devil (yep, he makes an appearance) looks great, there’s plenty of blood and the wounds and injuries all look suitably gory.

Also during the actual film, the movie is stopped a few times for a brief moment to give some background to certain scenes. It’s a really good idea and helps you enjoy the movie more rather than stop the flow of it. But like I said before, this isn’t really about the zombies, it’s much more about the love people have for each other. There’s a beautifully emotional moment at the very end of the movie which I won’t spoil but explains why this film was made.

Sam and Mattie Make A Zombie Movie will make you laugh and cry and hopefully inspire you in many different ways. Most importantly though it will make you smile from ear to ear. I’ll be first in line to watch Spring Break Zombie Massacre 2.

**** 4/5

Sam and Mattie Make A Zombie Movie is now available on a number of digital and cable platforms across the US, including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Google Play, Spectrum and Cox from Gravitas Ventures.

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