Are We Even Ready for a Full-Blown Filipino Zombie Movie?


The year is 2020 and yes, the zombies are coming!

It was in July of last year, when first teasers of Filipino zombie flick, Block Z were released, much to the surprise and excitement of fans not just the actors but of the genre. In it, top young actors Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia were seen leading a group of university students fight off a flock of the undead.

Screenshot grabbed from ABS-CBN Star Cinema YouTube

As is expected, with critical and box office success of recent films released of the same genre like Train To Busan (2016) and other now-canonical work like Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002), and even the zombie-comedy Zombieland (2009), qualms about the film’s merits were raised online–particularly questioning if the Philippines is, in fact, capable of handling the zombie genre.

We dare say, however, that with our favorite young director at the helm, great things are to be expected on the film. Block Z marks as the sixth feature film for director Mikhail Red, behind impressive award-winning films like Rekorder (2013), Birdshot (2016), Neomanila (2017), Eerie (2018), and Dead Kids (2019).

Ian Veneracion, Dimples Romana, Julia Barretto, Joshua Garcia, and Maris Racal. | Image grabbed from ABS-CBN Star Cinema YouTube

Block Z is said to be the young auteur’s “most ambitious project yet”–showcasing running zombies in a quarantined school ground, rising from the dead following a virus outbreak. The film is set to feature other actors Dimples Romana, Ian Veneracion, Ina Raymundo and other young stars Maris Racal, McCoy De Leon, Yves Flores,

The film serves as a fitting follow-up after the well-received release of the genre-bending teen heist Netflix film, Dead Kids, which is a riveting and clever social and moral commentary portrayed under the guise of a high-octane teen drama.

Screenshot grabbed from ABS-CBN Star Cinema YouTube

This isn’t the first time that the zombies are going to be portrayed onscreen. In 2013, T.A. Acierto released the independent film, The Grave Bandits, that showed two orphans who turned out to become heroes in a far-off island, fighting off the rise of creatures infected by an unidentified virus. In 2011, Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival premiered the zombie-thriller-comedy, Zombadings: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington, featuring Martin Escudero, while Cinema One Originals showcased the Bisaya film Di ingon ‘nato (Not Like Us).

Block Z, however, serves as the first Filipino zombie film that will be released by a major mainstream studio, Star Cinema. Red, who is known for injecting socio-political commentaries on his films, is sure to give more than just a thrilling, intense action ride.

Block Z will be shown in theaters on January 29, 2020. Watch the full trailer below: