The other night I finally had the opportunity to see Zombie Girl: The Movie, the documentary about young filmmaker Emily Hagins that's nearly four years in the making. It did not disappoint.
I've had the distinct good fortune to speak with Emily as well as documentary makers Justin Johnson, Erik Mauck and Aaron Marshall a few times during my research for a chapter about them all for the forthcoming New Horror Handbook. That said, I don't think I'd ever really fully appreciated the work of any of them until seeing this film.
To start with, Zombie Girl (premiering at Fantastic Fest next month) offers its audience the very rare opportunity to see an artist in the making. While it's too early to say what kind of impact Emily is going to have on the movie world, it is a fascinating, and at times moving, experience to see her putting together her first feature, Pathogen.
Some people will talk a good game about technology making films easy for anybody to make, but these people are also the ones who know the least about what goes into making them. Not only does Zombie Girl demonstrate that, it shows a then-12-year-old girl who stuck with it right until the very end.
Finally, this is a film that does what all great documentaries about remarkable people should do: It makes you want to go out there and be remarkable, too.