A zombie turns philosopher in Mateo, a thought-provoking horror short from Mexico. Directed by Fernando Perezgil, the story unfolds five years after an apocalypse has ravaged the earth. Despite being turned into a zombie, a former self-service store employee named Mateo (Waldo Facco) miraculously retains consciousness. His thoughts are heard in a subtitled voice-over as he wanders the land.
An interesting theme Perezgil weaves into the story is that of humankind’s destructive appetite in relation to climate change. While the arguments are not new, they remain relevant and engaging, particularly because of the way Mateo delivers the information. There is no anger in his recounting of events, only contemplation.
While the film is serious, it doesn’t forget that it’s a zombie film. In a humorous sequence, Mateo attempts to communicate with other zombies, only to be greeted by grunts and groans. This joke can be read as a reflection on our current society, where authentic human interaction has sadly been in decline in contemporary society; to have such connection further disappear after a zombie apocalypse is a sobering wake-up call. In another, audiences are greeted with the violence they come to expect with the genre. However, it is not directed toward the expected surviving humans. Rather, Mateo is seen scavenging animals. As he devours a corpse, the bloody goods are on display. This scene is not made for the squeamish. Although a fake prop is used with convincing gore effects, don’t tell PETA.
Compared to other zombie films, Mateo is less concerned with body horror than it is with its overall tone. Although costuming and makeup effects are exceptional, Alexandra Bas’s cinematography elevates this genre offering to the level of art.
Overall, Perezgil uses this horror vehicle to do what the genre does best: offer poignant, relevant social commentary. Mateo comes highly recommended.
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars
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|Runtime:||3Mins 32 secs|