Bertrand Bonello injects urgency and history into the well-worn walking-dead genre with this unconventional plunge into horror-fantasy, moving fluidly between 1962 Haiti, where a young man known as Clairvius Narcisse is made into a zombie by his resentful brother, and a contemporary Paris girls’ boarding school attended by Clairvius’s direct descendant.
This film has a unique narrative style. Long takes establishing backstory are a stark contrast to the teen angst driven by voice-over lover letters. Weaving the strange but true history of zombification and a young girl’s adolescent heartbreak, Zombi Child presents a story about the lengths we’ll go for love. Cinematically beautiful natural light adds to the atmosphere. Performances are everywhere from subtly grounded to flamboyant and frightening. The script is unexpected but the end result is a bit of a fever dream that will hypnotize audiences.