Death Us Do Part aka Zoo Review

With a set-up that feels eerily familiar to present-day real life, a couple whose marriage is on the brink of breaking up suddenly find themselves locked down as an unspecified zombie outbreak ravages the UK in “Death Do Us Part”.

Also known as “Zoo” and available now on Sky Movies and Now TV, there’s more than a hint of situation comedy about the characters and the opening scenes. Certainly, its one apartment setting feels very ‘filmed before a live studio audience’ but it’s in a very, very British way. You couldn’t really see this film playing out the way it does in any other setting. It’s so deadpan and icily polite even as the dry humour desiccates to the point of pitch-black ashen comedy in the way no other country can do. But its brittle light-heartedness soon crumbles and gives way to a much gloomier, more thoughtful piece powered by the tremendous performances of the two leads.

Short on zombie action, long on character, this is – with a few exceptions – a two-hander between Ed Speleers and Zoë Tapper as a couple forced to give their relationship another chance given their lack of available options. Like life in lockdown, it gets easily wrapped up in its own uneasily cosy domestic bubble before the outside world bursts through, occasionally whimsically but sometimes violently. There’s a fascination in their transformation as a couple as their mutual indifference is forged, through circumstances, into a stronger, fiercer and more cold-blooded bond than they could have imagined.

Many zombie movies trade on the trope that people are the real monsters and while there is a measure of that here, it’s also pretty good at illustrating the monstrous and yet understandable lengths people can go to, to hang on to and protect the ones they love.

“Death Do Us Part” is a bleak and blackly comedic story of love, despair, romance and realism amidst the collapse of civilisation; a glimpse into the millions of stories which would go on unnoticed and unheralded in the background of the likes of “World War Z”.

6/10

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