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Livelihood (2005)



37.5 Productions delivers the goods with Livelihood.  It may not be the best film ever and it probably could have been edited a bit better, but what's really important is that  writer / director Ryan Graham along with his wife Tracey and a motley band of misfit cast and crew members manage to achieve what most movies these days fail to do; they came up with an original concept for a zombie film.  That alone is worth giving Livelihood a chance.  When you consider that this film was made for around $4,000, anyone who knows much about movie making can tell that there was also more than a little bit of talent and creative problem solving involved in making this movie come to life.  As an additional bonus, it's actually a lot more enjoyable to watch than most films of similar budgets!

The basic premise behind Livelihood is that the dead are coming back to life, but they aren't interested in eating brains or staggering around aimlessly.  They want their old lives back!  Livelihood follows the stories of three particular zombies (a 1980s rock star, a bitch mother-in-law and a wormy office employee) as they try to adjust to their new existence as zombies.  There are a lot of laughs and a good story, but not a lot of gore or hot naked girls.  Amazingly, the story is actually good enough that you can watch the movie without a lot of gore or hot naked girls!  The lighting, shot composition and acting are all well above what you would expect from a $4,000 movie.  The score was pretty good too, but most of the songs used in the film were pretty bad.  Well, maybe the songs weren't all that bad, but the recording quality was so awful that it made the songs seem really bad.  

I mentioned before that the editing could have been better.  The editing within each scene was fine, it's just the overall running time of the film could have been cut if the editing had been a little tighter.  If they had been trying to stretch the film out to reach 60 minutes, I really wouldn't have thought much about the editing, but the total running time of the film is over 90 minutes.  Although the flow is pretty good, I think it could have been edited down to 80 minutes or so and flowed even better.  Overall, this is a small complaint considering how much the filmmakers achieved with almost no budget.

I wouldn't say that this is the best movie I've seen all year, but I would say that this may be the best feature length film I've seen that cost so little to make.  Just imagine what these guys could do if they had some money to work with!  Livelihood is definitely worth checking out! 

Gore-o-meter rating: 2 out of 5
(not a lot of gore for a zombie movie)

Skin-o-meter: 1 out of 5 (Two short topless shots)