We Are Little Zombies by Rick V.

We Are Little Zombies: Streaming

The first bit of dialogue in We Are Little Zombies is little thirteen-year-old Hikari comparing his recently deceased parents’ ashes to Parmesan cheese. Hikari hasn’t cried and doesn’t seem to care much about his parents dying. He felt unloved and alone when they were alive despite them giving him all the retro-game consoles he ever wanted. His loneliness fades a bit when he meets three other tweens whose parents are also being cremated in the same building where he’s moping.

The quartet starts calling themselves zombies, kids who aren’t living but aren’t dead. They steal from convenience stores and move around collectively sleeping at their dead parents’ homes, warehouses, and motels. Their bleak attitude drives them to do nothing and hope it’s just over eventually. That is until a thirty-something piece homeless jug band inspires them to start a band. Hikari does lead sad vocals with chiptune accompaniment coming from his Game Boy-like handheld system.

They call the band We Are Little Zombies and become viral sensations. From there they get stardom, lose it, and steal a garbage truck.

The advertisements and trailer for the movie really sell the band arc of the movie even though it takes up less than a quarter of the two-hour runtime. Despite that, it’s still very watchable. The movie is soaked in 8-bit, nostalgia-inducing colors, music, and animations. The quartet acquires items (game console, bass guitar, wok) to allow them to level up and Hikari is obsessed with fighting his final boss who he originally believes is the driver of the bus that killed his parents. There’s even a great sequence where we see a top-down view of the four kids walking through a park à la most retro RPG’s.

It’s a very visually psychedelic movie. 8-bit letters flow across the screen, giant beta fish fly by windows for no reason and the goopy zombie costumes they wear in their band are way too much. Think Scott Pilgrim Vs the World but way darker.

The plot is thin, the poetic analogies don’t make sense, and even after announcing “The Final Level” where you expect a grand finale, the movie just ends. But you know what? It was two hours and twelve dollars well spent. It’s more of a good experience than it is an emotionally moving film. And the three We Are Little Zombies songs are pretty catchy. Go watch their “viral” music video right now! –Rick V. (Oscilloscope Laboratories, oscilloscope.net)