Zombie movies are one of the few genres out there that can effectively turn a lens on society, and really reflect some of the problems we are failing to work on together. After the initial shock of the dead rising to feast on the living wears off, there is often a lingering message left behind, whether it's George Romero's manifesto against the racism and bigotry of the '60s in Night of the Living Dead, or Danny Boyle's warning against the appeal of militarized facism in 28 Days Later. Now, we're getting a First Nations perspective on the living dead through Blood Quantum.
Blood Quantum tells the story of the isolated Mi'gmaq reserve of Red Crow, whose indigenous inhabitants are immune to an outbreak of a zombie plague. That doesn't make the walking dead any less dangerous to the living, though- those zombies still hunger for the flesh of the living. To make matters worse, the tribal population has to contend with refugees from the zombie apocalypse, discontent people within the population, and a horde of dead white zombies.
Blood Quantum was written and directed by Mi'gmaq filmmaker Jeff Barnaby, and stars Michael Greyeyes from Fear the Walking Dead, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers from On the Farm, and Forrest Goodluck from The Revenant.
Blood Quantum just finished filming in Montreal, Canada, as well as the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. XYZ Films produced the movie, and has brokered a deal with Shudder, AMC's premium streaming horror service, to distribute the film in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
Barnaby is pretty happy with the deal, and said the following to Deadline:
"Natives have been on screen for 100 years but have never controlled that image. In the age of representation, Shudder is putting their money where their mouth is and providing an opportunity for a whole new generation of indigenous genre filmmakers. They're breaking that glass ceiling and opening the books on a whole new perspective. They're making a genuine difference."
Here's Emily Gotto from Shudder:
"We are thrilled to bring Jeff Barnaby's Blood Quantum to Shudder. Jeff and his bold vision are at the forefront of Shudder's ethos of original, provocative and stirring genre stories. The film is a new, first nations perspective on a classic genre, a film that takes zombies in a new direction as it harkens back to the meaningful and politically aware roots of George Romero."
The term "Blood Quantum" may not mean much to folks outside of the first nations, but has a long and controversial history in the United States and other former British colonies. Blood quantum laws were established to document the percentage of a person's Native American ancestry, and in many cases, this documentation was used to control, incarcerate, or murder indigenous Americans.
If your curious about blood quantum laws, that education is just a Google search away. If your curious about the Blood Quantum movie, keep checking back here at Bleeding Cool! We'll keep you in the know.