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Zombi Child

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France · 2019
1h 43m
Director Bertrand Bonello
Starring Louise Labèque, Wislanda Louimat, Katiana Milfort, Mackenson Bijou
Genre Fantasy, Horror, Drama

On the border of ethnology and fantasy, Bertrand Bonello recounts the destiny of the Haitian Clairvius Narcisse, victim of a voodoo spell that turned him into a zombie. Mixing stories and epochs between Haiti in 1962 and Paris today, between Narcisse, a 15-year-old Haitian girl and her aunt, a voodoo priestess,

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The A.V. Club by A.A. Dowd

There are elements of coming-of-age drama, tortured romance, and supernatural horror, though part of the film’s strange power is that it never seems to commit to any of those genres, hovering in some liminal state instead, teasing the audience with the various possibilities of where it might go.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

If Zombi Child gets snared in a web of symbols and ideas that it never fully manages to weaponize in its still provides a bold and compelling bridge between the living and the dead.


The A.V. Club by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

The trappings of the boarding school, with its grand staircases, centuries-old cloisters, and self-serious teenage secrecy, are gothic. But Bonello nods just as much to American teen-anxiety horror. There is even an homage to Brian De Palma’s "Carrie."


The Playlist by Joe Blessing

Zombi Child is the rare film that’s both rich in ideas and fun, a reckoning with forces colonial powers would like buried, but that won’t stay dead.


Screen Daily by Jonathan Romney

Mixing political commentary, ethnography, teenage melodrama and genre horror, the film is an unashamedly cerebral study of multiple themes – colonialism, revolution, liberalism, racial difference and female desire - with its unconventional narrative structure taking us on a journey that’s as intellectually demanding as it is compelling.


The Hollywood Reporter by Jordan Mintzer

The result feels like two incomplete movies in one, neither of them fully satisfying in the end. Still, there are some graceful moments scattered throughout, especially in the Haitian sequences, while it’s also rather refreshing to see a brand new take on a subject that’s been worked to death elsewhere.


The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

Zombi Child is the kind of lithe and lucid dream that gets its tendrils round your brain stem, so that when all hell finally breaks loose, you can’t jolt yourself awake from its grip.


Movie Nation by Roger Moore

It’s an utterly immersive Franco-Haitian gumbo, complete with flashbacks, “magic” as practiced by those who know “the old ways,” teen hormones and the zombi origin story.

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