In a small southern town, scientists test new chemicals on local crops. Soon thereafter, people start turning into flesh-eating zombies at a local fair.
Directed by Mark Newton who wrote the story with Christian Hokenson, Stephan Stromer, and Daniel Wood, Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies takes the usual zombie tropes and gives them a bit more humor and attacks the regional fair at the center of things fairly fast. Story-wise, Attack of the Southern Zombies doesn’t bring many new ideas to the table, it does however create a fun way to watch the characters die or get bitten and the ensuing mayhem is entertaining. It’s definitely a case of leaving your brain at the door both to avoid becoming zombie-snack and to better enjoy the film. The mindless dumb fun take on the zombies this film offers is decently written and directed, something that gives them a leg up on most of the low-budget zombie competition.
The performers for the zombie fodder here do ok to good work with their parts and their lines. None of these are Academy Award worthy performances, but all are giving their all and showing that they can act. The cast as a whole is good to watch evolve with a few exceptions in each directions. A few of the cast come up on top with the best performances, those being Kaitlin Mesh as Trish and Wyntergrace Williams as Kayla. The latter being probably the best of the bunch. To counter-balance this, a few actors come off as grating in their interpretations, but both of them thankfully do not get all that much screen time.
As has been a trend lately, the film looks good and more expensive than it most likely was. Here the filmmakers made the most of their budget using good locations and a lot of them that all seem situated fairly close to each other. This is all filmed with cinematography by Jonathan Hammond who gives the film a straightforward, no fuss kind of look. There are no fancy camera moves and, thankfully, no lens flares, it’s shot simply most likely to keep within budget but it works for the story.
As in most, if not all, zombie films, the special makeup effects for the zombies are rather important here. While most of the flesh-eaters’ style is quite simple, a few have more complex makeup and appliances. These include the very first zombie seen and a few others seen throughout the film. These particular zombies show the film’s budget but still look rather good. The team behind these is composed of special makeup effects supervisor Jonathan Thornton and special makeup effects assistants Matthew Grant, Casey Heflin, Christian Hokenson, and Stephan Stromer who all do decent work with their small budget by giving each zombie its own look and personality. They are all also responsible for the wounds on the victims which look appropriately gross and painful. These special makeup effects are supported by sparingly and mostly effectively used visual effects by visual effects supervisors Zach Brinkerhoff and Mark Newton as well as artists Joe Bagtas, Jon Julsrud, and Ken McCraken.
Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies is a fun, lower budget zombie romp that makes the most of what it has. While it’s not particularly original, following most of the usual sub-genre tropes, it’s an easy watch that is entertaining and brings some good zombie mayhem while giving nods to some its predecessors. The acting is good from the majority of the cast with a couple of cringe-worthy performances here and there. Those do not take up too much of the story’s time, so it’s easy to ignore them and just enjoy the zombie attacks and general fun to be found here.