I AM TOXIC ** Argentina 2018 Dir: Pablo Parés. 76 mins
Great title considering what is going on disease wise on the planet. I AM TOXIC (2019) comes from Argentina, technically one of the cradles of zombie folklore before they became Romero driven flesh eating creatures. The film has been unfairly compared in look to MAD MAX for obvious visual and costume reasons; however, that’s where the similarities end. If you are going to work in the genre you have to expect some similarities to all, just as if you were doing gothic horror or the Haunted house. The process of making a strong film is how you work the archetypes within the genre.
I AM TOXIC (2019) does well, to a certain point.
The film opens promisingly with a male Perro (Esteban Prol) waking up in a pile of putrefied bodies. Bewildered expressions and body language show that he does not know who he is and (neither do we) how he ended up there. Photographed well with crisp images, and minimal gore effects, the film follows Perro’s journey. The picture reveals amnesia is the first stage of an infection that turns humans into husks. The creatures then (of course) are driven to eat corpses. Can we get a vegetarian or lactose intolerant zombie?
Perro stumbles into a stranger (Horacio Fontova), who leads him to a camp with other humans. The situation turns ugly with the camp inhabitants as Perro is given promised food by having a bowl of meat-like material dumped on a table in front of him. Perro is given the name of Dog by the three wild men and a young girl, Iris (Fin Bocchino).
Instead of story of survival of Perro, I AM TOXIC becomes this odd mixture of sadism and masochism involving food and physical harm between Perro and the three men of the camp. Iris is more the camp food maker, fixer and sexual pleasure provider.
The story written by director Pablo Parés, Daniel De La Vega, Paulo Soria, sadly doesn’t develop this sadism/masochism theme further to a different path. Instead the picture becomes one of low rent survival in the zombie infested world.
Zombie genre films for the most part- unless there is an added quirk – do little of the genre. I AM TOXIC does show people that one does not have to be in North America, UK or other places to be fighting these creatures. Today inclusion is important as the audience gets to see someone like themselves on the screen. Horacio Fontova does have a passing look to American Danny Trejo, who has bashed up his fair share of people and things on the screen. Fin Bocchino looks like a model, and it works for the physicality of the role, but unfortunately she is also the female window dressing that happens in these type of pictures.
I AM TOXIC (2019) had potential of a small zombie story. It lacks follow through. Some good poster art is present, similar to style of the late, brilliant comic artist Bernie Wrightson. Reasonable makeup effects provide some cover (pun intended) for the lack of story.
Review by Terry Sherwood