The Weird Kidz
Dir. Zach Passero
Every single frame of Zach Passero’s hand-drawn The Weird Kidz is an elaborate labor of love. But don’t misconstrue that, nothing at all about The Weird Kidz is laborious for the viewer. Passero spent eight years animating his hilarious coming-of-age horror flick that follows a group of preteens who go on a camping trip with one of their older brothers and his girlfriend. As they’re settling into their mysterious campground, they learn of a local mythic creature called the Night Child that comes out to haunt campers in this particular state park.
While it superficially has the setup of a slasher flick — and becomes much more of a conspiratorial horror movie — The Weird Kidz feels much more like Richard Linklater was tasked with creating an animated horror movie, and it absolutely delivers. The raunchy comedy and unflinching gore may be what is most noticeable, but at its heart, Passero is able to distill sincere wisdom about sibling relationships via his main character, Dug (Tess Passero), and his older brother Wyatt (Ellar Coltrane). This pair starts out as the typical teenage brother duo — nerdy younger brother and “cooler” older brother, although in this case cooler only means has a girlfriend. Over the course of the movie and the traumatic moments within, though, they deepen their understanding of one another and grow closer.
As is often the case for horror movies, the trauma that takes place unveils a lot about the characters, but here, as humanity and empathy are stripped away right before their eyes, they realize not only how much they care for their friends but also how much they care for each other. Zach Passero’s labor of love is a film everyone should absolutely seek out.