If playing Left 4 Dead on Xbox has taught me anything, it’s that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, the company you keep can means the difference between life and death. You need to know that your fellow survivors will work as a team, stay cool in the face of undeath, and most importantly, always have your back.
What you DON’T want is to be stuck with two fratboy jerkwads who will throw you into a horde at the slightest sign of trouble. Unfortunately for Charlie, one of the three protagonists of I Am Not Infected, that’s exactly what he’s got to deal with when a zombie invasion hits his college campus and forces him to team up with two of his more misanthropic dormmates.
If you like monsters and gore mixed in with your boys-behaving-badly comedy, this series is for you.
Shortly after the uniquely horrific first episode, the boys find shelter in the closed set of a local reality show (“The Frat House of Representatives”), and with the help of the only surviving cameraman and a video confessional booth, the guys document their adventures in survival horror and upload them directly to you, the viewer. It’s good to know that even at world’s end, internet service providers won’t leave us hanging.
I Am Not Infected is directed by Charlie Coutrakon and produced by Dean Mozian, who along with most of the cast are culled from Emerson College’s film and theater schools. Judging from the quality of the series production and acting, the people behind the series took their studies seriously.
The three leads are all convincing as various breeds of loserly college dudes, though there are some curious casting choices. Charlie, for instance, is the nerd of the group, indicated by the abuse he endures at the hands of the other two and his reluctance to kill (“I’m not comfortable killing a human, and I’m not comfortable killing a snail. And I think a zombie is probably somewhere in between.”) Charlie’s just too Teen-Drama-Cute to be a credible geek, though his Google T-Shirt helps a little. Hartley is an aggressive Stifler-esque bro. And then there’s Paul, a sleazy, fratacular guy stuck wearing a hospital gown, leading to many gratuitous butt-shots. The actor playing him actually seems pretty well suited to that role, possibly because he’s the show creator.
The show does a great job keeping the audience engaged with quick scenes full of comic banter and bloody visual effects. The straightforward plot (find food, shelter, guns, and power without being eaten) allows lots of time to get to know the characters, and new background info on the guys is weaved into each script, along with reoccurring secondary characters who show up when you least expect them. Horror fans will appreciate frequent references to zombie lore, such as in episode five, where the trio mines their knowledge of zombie films to brainstorm worst case scenarios (“Should we be worried about zombie biker gangs ?” “Zombies can’t operate motor vehicles!”)
I Am Not Infected should satisfy fans of the emerging ZomCom genre, especially those who like their comedy pitch black; the first episode is genuinely scary, and indefensibly amoral choices by the protagonists abound. Also be warned of the series’ addictive power; there are twenty episodes and counting, and almost every episode ends in a cliffhanger that actually makes you look forward to the next episode, instead of feeling strung along (I’m looking at you, After Judgement!).
The series hasn’t quite found it’s audience yet, judging by their YouTube numbers, but I’m rooting for them to find their niche before zombies go out of style on the internet. May that day never come.