The confused ones.
Four orphaned teenagers are lost and confused when their parents suddenly die. They find some comfort in each other. And after a short while, they form a band they call Little Zombies. But will they ever be happy again and find out that there’s a future waiting for them even if they are orphans?
We Are Little Zombies is Makoto Nagahisa’s directorial debut, and he seems like an interesting movie director if he gets more control over the editing and flow. He can remind me of Shunji Iwai (All About Lily Chou-Chou) and Tetsuya Nakashima (Confessions).
If you are familiar with Tetsuya Nakashima, you should feel at home with We Are Little Zombies. That means a lot of energy, and some fast-paced editing from scene to scene. But does he have control over the story he tells, which is the most important thing?
No, I wouldn’t say that. The movie is charming, and it feels different compared with other similar movies in the same genre, which is good. But the movie never quite engages with the characters we follow and the journey they embark on.
The teenagers we follow have all lost their parents, and it doesn’t quite seem like they realize it. They are empty, and it feels they are in shock. They are alone, and they don’t think they have a future ahead of them. They no longer function, and the adults are of no help. The movie doesn’t focus much on the people they are living with after their parents died.
The movie focuses on anxiety, being depressed and empty, and adults who often take advantage of children who are in a tough life situation. The movie also focuses on social media and how dangerous it is when people are angry and are looking to take their anger out on someone.
It’s charming when the movie blends in some 8-Bit graphics and music, which works well. It also makes the movie stand out more from the crowd, and it makes the movie feel warmer.
But I didn’t feel that the movie engaged as much as the best movies in this genre. I’ve seen movies that focus on the same topics in a better way. We Are Little Zombies is a very colorful and playful movie that wants to say something, but what it has to say isn’t that interesting in the long run.
The editing, the use of handheld cameras, and failing to keep control of the story, ruins a lot of the movie experience. The first hour is the best, but after that, the movie gets very boring.
It’s not enough just creating energy on the screen. The movie also has to tell a story that engages and that allows us to feel that we get to know the central characters. I never felt We Are Little Zombies did that.