Tuesday, May 22, 2012

SIFF ’12: Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings

Remington is cursed, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  A fortune-telling drag queen cast a spell on him that will change his orientation when he reaches maturity (or something close to that)—again not that there’s anything wrong with that.  It just comes at a bad time.  Remington has just met the girl of his dreams and was even making a bit of headway.  Further complicating matters, there happens to be a serial killer targeting the town’s gay population in Jade Castro’s mash-up Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings (trailer here), which screens during the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival.

Evidently, Zombadings is a sort of Tagalog conjunction for gay zombie.  Don’t worry about them, they won’t show up for a while.  The serial killer is more pressing.  Since the economy of Remington’s provincial town seems to be built around hair salons, the killer has sparked widespread panic.  His father’s son, Remington has never been particularly sensitive about the feelings of his gay neighbors.  In fact, it was his childhood taunts that earned him the curse that starts manifesting after he meets the ridiculously cute Hannah.

Actually, it is Remington’s new flamboyant side that charms Hannah’s mom.  Unfortunately, Remington starts having confusing thoughts about his best friend Jigs.  His rather less grungy approach to clothes and grooming also attracts the wrong sort of attention in a town terrorized by a homophobic psychopath.

While always meant with the best intentions, the film’s humor is consistently broad and often decidedly politically incorrect.  Think of it as La Cage aux Folles with zombies, serial killers, curses, and a weird ray-gun (don’t ask).  Yet, it has the heart of a John Hughes movie.  Castro walks a fine line, portraying Remington’s fight against the curse as an effort to be who he was really meant to be, rather than a massive freak-out at the prospect of being gay.  To his credit, it mostly works on those terms.

Martin Escudero is game enough for all the naughty physical comedy Castro throws Remington’s way, while Philippines TV star Lauren Young is a smart and engaging screen presence as Hannah.  Together their chemistry is a bit problematic, but there is a lot of chaos going on, deliberately undermining them.

Remington is a fun, sweet-tempered film.  It would be a mistake to consider it topical though.  Frankly, the nature of the outrageous humor is likely to offend partisans on either side of the social issues divide. However, for those who want to see a midnight movie with gay zombies, it certainly fits the bill.  Recommended accordingly, Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings screens again June 1st and 2nd as part of this year’s Seattle International Film Festival.