Argentina, 2101. A nameless man (Esteban Prol) wakes up in a pile of bodies covering a vast plain with no memory of who he is or how he got there. Overhead, transport planes circle lazily, corpses being tossed out the back and falling to earth. As the man scavenges for supplies he becomes aware of blind, dessicated reanimated zombies – “drys” – roaming the plain and feeding on corpses and the living alike, hunting by sound.

Attacked by a dry he is saved by the Father (Horacio Fontova) a grizzled scavenger, friendly at first, who takes him back to his compound to meet the family – two vicious borderline insane “sons” (Gastón Cocchiarale and Sergio Podelei ) and a mute, subjugated girl (Fini Bocchino) who is both servant and sexual plaything to this perverted family of psychopaths. Beaten and brutalised by the gang who christen him “Dog”, the man discovers that he’s been infected with the virus that will turn him into a dry and that his fate is inextricably linked with that of the girl who engineers his escape.

Desperate to survive and to recover his fractured memory and identity, Dog must battle for survival against both the gang and the hordes of undead he’s destined to join…

A brutish, sweat-soaked, filth-caked homage to Mad Max and every zombie apocalypse movie you’ve ever seen, I Am Toxic is far from original but it’s a short, sharp, nasty little hit of adrenaline that asks the familiar questions when the world ends how far will you go to survive and how much of your soul are you willing to sacrifice? As ever, the line between the dead and the barely human is a thin one, with the depraved triumvirate of toxic masculinity at the film’s dark heart far more dangerous than the shuffling dead, the end of the world offering free rein to their baser instincts and desires, humanity’s greatest enemy being human nature in all its bestial excess while the film’s political subtext is far from subtle, the zombie horde that has destroys South America is the fallout from an apocalyptic war in the North, the survivors there flying over the South and dumping their dead like so much trash. It’s not hard to spot the parallels to ICE and Trump’s border policy and that’s even before we’re introduced to a pig called Donald, perhaps I Am Toxic’s most likable and sympathetic character.

Grim, grisly and melancholic, I Am Toxic is a dark, nihilistic wallow in the rampaging id of South America’s toxic masculinity.

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: I Am Toxic
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