Well GO USA
Available on Digital and Coming to Home Video Dec 20, 2022
The Loneliest Boy in the World really should not be passed when fans of the zombie genre want a black comedy to enjoy. It tackles an issue I’m sure many individuals dread facing: what’s life like when you are the last of a family lineage? Even harder is the question of who can be there to provide emotional support? There’s no answers in this home video release, as it doesn’t have a lot of extras (only a behind the scenes feature is offered), but in what I can gather, unlike other entries like Fido or Shaun of the Dead which deal with similar themes, this film considers making random members of the walking dead a surrogate family.
After Oliver (Max Harwood) lost his mom (Carol Anne Watts) in a terrible accident at home, the social worker and lawyer who shows up aren’t kind. They say he has a week to get her affairs in order and prove to them he’s capable of surviving on his own. Without batting an eye, he decides going to a local graveyard is the best idea to dig himself up an instant family. He decided the people who were recently buried here are more than capable to become his new father, mother, uncle and little sister. His morbid solution is so surreal, it works. It’s like a fever dream that director Martin Owen and screenwriters Piers Ashworth, Emilio Estevez, Brad Wyman can dream up after watching Marvel Comics Wandavison.
This team’s comic tale uses the 50s as the backdrop. Although most of the talents involved are British, they pull off decent American accents and certainly read a few of Charles Addams comic strips for inspiration. I also think there’s a bit of a classic Universal Monsters nod when considering one individual constantly wrapped up in bandages. Additionally, the little pink house Oliver continues to live in suggests he’s not altogether there. The colour is symbolic of his unwillingness to take matters seriously and I suspect it also overstates the fact he’s a momma’s boy.
When his favourite television show and hero is Alf, we should all worry. I’m guessing he isn’t intellectually developed and thus, to continue living in a fantasy is the only way he can cope with life. That is, the illusion of living with a zombie family may well be in Oliver’s head. When The Loneliest Boy in the World has a blissful dreamlike quality to it, this theory is possible. Also, this makeshift family rarely goes out, and we don’t see many instances of them interacting with his real friends.
Fortunately, they do manage some good for Oliver’s well being. They even help build his confidence when dealing with bullies and teach him how to win a girl’s heart. Without this emotional beat, I don’t think Mitch (Hero Fiennes Tiffin), Susanne (Susan Wokoma), Mel (Zenobia Williams), and Frank (Ben Miller) would even stick around. After waking up from their “coma,” they would have dispersed. That’s because when they were alive, one pair—namely Susanne and Mel—were more at odds than good mates. To reveal exactly how they’ve come back to life is unneeded. As for how they died, the flashbacks show none of them deserve the afterlife with the kid. Since they can’t return to their former lives, sticking around is their only choice.
And as for whether I’d want strangers to be my surrogate family, perhaps this youth needs more counselling than we realise. Sometimes that’s all anyone needs to find happiness, but to reach it means finally becoming self aware. It’s tough, but when Oliver finally succeeds at moving on with his life, we can smile and cheer.
3½ Stars out of 5