Film Reviews: “I, Zombie” (1999)

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I saw this in 2001 and was half asleep for most of it. The premise of a man slowly turning into a zombie over the course of several days and documenting it, always intrigued me. Similar to the famous journal entry in the original “Resident Evil” for Playstation that ends with “Itchy, tasty.” So, I’ve decided to give it a fair watch.

This is a film out of the UK. David travels to the countryside looking for tree moss samples. On his way back, he hears a noise. He comes across an old building, and inside is a woman lying on the floor and in pain. Thinking she needs help, he picks her up and carries her outside when she suddenly bites him on the neck! David gets away and then passes out in the woods. He awakes hours later to find himself in a dreamlike state and not totally in control. He kills a man in the woods and eats him. Terrified of himself and of being caught, David gets himself back to town and rents a room in a quiet village. Days go by and David is forced to confront his urges.

He speaks into a recorder: “I’m coping much better with all of this. The first few kills were terrifying ordeals. I was completely out of control, but I’m starting to understand my behavioral patterns more. My life is organized around the need to feed and the logistics of finding new meat. As my condition stabilizes a pattern seems to be emerging. After eating I am stable for about 12 hours. Mild convulsions start at 4 days, developing into fits in the 6-8 day phase where the hunger becomes unbearable. I can’t go for longer than 12 days. The pain is indescribable. There’s no choice but to feed…”

I wonder if this was originally supposed to be a vampire flick. In most cases, zombies turn within hours or a days of infection. In this, David is applying makeup to look normal, going out in public, and can mentally function as long as he keeps feeding. An interesting take on the genre. However, as the weeks go on, David begins to deteriorate and rot. He becomes weaker and weaker and to the point where he can no longer attack and feed.

This was much better than I remembered it being! I like that “I, Zombie” goes into psychological territory and touches upon the sadness and isolation David feels. He left his life and his girlfriend behind during all this, and fantasizes about seeing her again. Sometimes he believes his own hallucinations. A very unique film with multiple layers of emotion going on. Worth a watch if you want a twist on the zombie genre.

3.0 out of 4.0 stars.

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