Plot: After the great zombie outbreak, a wall was constructed to keep the infected out and the uninfected safe. As time passed, science was able to treat the zombies and now, they can live mostly normal lives, as long as their z-bands are operational. These special wristbands keep the zombie impulses under control, but even with such a safeguard, the zombies aren’t treated as equals. At school, the humans and zombies remain separate for the most part, but Zed (Milo Manheim) is still excited and he is convinced he will even make the football team. At the same time, uninfected Addison (Meg Donnelly) is excited herself and also has high hopes, to be a star cheerleader. When the two students wind up in the same safe-room by accident, Addison and Zed have an instant connection, despite their differences. But in a world where zombies are looked down upon and distrusted, can they ever have a shot at love?
Entertainment Value: Disney’s Zombies returns the zombie mythos to its roots, as an examination of discrimination and exclusion. This is done in direct, plain to understand fashion, so even younger viewers can pick up on the social issues involved, which could lead to some positive results. As pure entertainment, this is zombies done Disney style, which means bright colors, a fast pace, and of course, musical routines. The tone is in line with the usual Disney Channel originals, so the humor is light and brisk, with perky performances and an overall upbeat mood. The treatment of the zombies is handled well and is direct, but even the serious moments aren’t dark, just a little heavy handed, but it makes sense in this case. The horror elements are limited to some z-band malfunctions, but that ties in more with trying to change to fit in, rather than the brain chomping kind of content.
The cast here is about what you’d expect from a Disney Channel movie, with broad, over the top efforts that ensure the attitude comes through strong. This works however, as it adds some more humor to the mix and that’s a plus, though some might dislike how overly cutesy some of the turns are. Meg Donnelly steals the show as Addison, with a massive smile and a persona that radiates optimism and happiness, an idea fit for our beacon of good will. She is perky and over the top, but tempers it with a silly thread about having white hair, which is supposed to add a flaw to her otherwise perfect life, but seems overly forced. Milo Manheim dials up the goofiness in the male lead, while Kylee Russell, Emilia McCarthy, and Kingston Foster provide fun supporting roles and the rest of the cast is solid overall. This one isn’t going to reel in horror fans, but those who appreciate the Disney Channel style should find a lot to like this with quirky, bubbly take the zombie outbreak.