Dirk Diggler’s review published on Letterboxd:
Paul Thomas Anderson once said, “Every movie that gets made is a miracle”. I love the fact that these two childhood friends can now call themselves filmmakers. Although the final product certainly didn´t capture my interest, the story behind it is a true inspiration for every aspiring filmmaker.
“Sam & Mattie Make A Zombie Movie” is about two best friends with down syndrome whose dream it always was to make a movie, as they are ultimate filmlovers themselves. The documentary presents the making of their film called “Spring Break Zombie Massacre” and at the end, the 40-minutes-long product is shown as well.
Although the overall atmosphere was very cheerful and filled with joy, I expected a bit more background into the difficult stages of Sam´s and Mattie´s life. These two get a chance that I can only dream off. Endless people work with them, so that they can achieve their dream. From time to time, I asked myself “Why don´t I get a chance like that?”. It kind of made me jealous, and that´s basically because the documentary doesn´t present what the normal everyday life looks like for people with down syndrome. On the one hand, this makes them seem like totally fine people, which is also a very good statement, but on the other hand, it doesn´t give me an insight into why it is something truly special. Overall, I would have liked to see more difficulties and the struggle that exceeds Sam´s and Mattie´s passion for films, and that´s because they are such relatable and likeable people. I would have liked to experience a bit of their downs as well.
Nevertheless, the obvious fact that there is something special about Sam and Mattie stands. And these are the very heartwarming moments when the audience gets to see the two living out their passion and having the fun of their lives. Furthermore, as an aspiring filmmaker myself, I love Behind the Scenes footage. Especially with Sam and Mattie at the wheel of making their film, this documentary is a very big inspiration, and not just one for filmmakers, but also for everybody who dreams. Sam and Mattie dreamt since they met in their childhood days. They pretended to make movies because that was their passion. Now, without even having the thought of giving up, they have finished a valid and solid product that they can be proud of. Certainly, “Spring Break Zombie Massacre” is no “Reservoir Dogs” that goes on to become an independent classic that will lead the way for becoming a Hollywood director, but it is still a miracle and a blessing of the possibilities and disabilities of life.
The film itself feels very much like some Robert Rodriguez – let´s call it trash film. Films that make no sense and are absolutely stupid, but because of this crazy surrealism hilarious. Seeing how a film has been made makes watching it ultimately better because you see where the entirety of hard work has gone. You truly can see how Sam´s and Mattie´s dreams have found their way on the screen, and how the work of all the crewmembers paid off into a final overall solid product. “Spring Break Zombie Massacre” is more of a short film than a feature with a runtime of 40 minutes, but anyways, it is very enjoyable. Additionally, it´s cool and uglily violent. Nonetheless, I don´t think that the short film can be enjoyed by everybody, but if you see the making of in the documentary, then you can at least appreciate the film.
All in all, “Sam & Mattie Make A Zombie Movie” is a bittersweet documentary that shows the relatable passion of two dreamers who are crossing any boundaries given in order to fulfill their dream. While I wanted to see a bit more insight into Sam´s and Mattie´s normal life and their everyday problems, this doesn´t distract much from appreciating these two. The short film is miracle of movie making; It may not be really great, but with this documentary existing, it´s definitely worth a watch.