That ZOMBIES Franchise has always been a showcase for what it means to accept others for who they are and are zombies 3 is no exception. This final part celebrates inclusivity and the power of friendship.

ZOMBIES 3 movie review

ZOMBIES 3 movie review

It’s senior year at Seabrook High and Addison (Meg Donnelly) is preparing to graduate in the fall and go to Mountain College. Zed (Milo Manheim) works hard to become the first college zombie ever. In order for college to even consider accepting him, Zed has to win the big soccer game. But his plans are derailed when a group of aliens arrive. Led by A-spen (Terry Hu), the aliens decide to enroll in Seabrook and compete in the international cheer competition. But because he’s so exceptional at everything they do, Zed is starting to see his dreams of going to college slipping through his fingers as his class leader tank. These aliens aren’t just here to cheer, though, they’re actually after something, and it’s up to Addison, Zed, and the others to figure out what it is.

zombies 3 At its core, it’s a story about inclusivity, acceptance, and the power to come together as a community. Not only that, it also touches on growing up and worrying about breaking up with your friends. That’s a lot to pack into 90 minutes, but it pulls it off and does so while showcasing some of the most complex dance routines seen in a Disney original film.

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ZOMBIES 3 review

Donnelly and Manheim eat up their scenes with an infectious (no pun intended) charm that fans have come to know and love. Their chemistry is the glue of this franchise, which has expanded their monster repertoire over the years. They show tweens and teens what a healthy relationship should look like, in which both partners support and build each other up rather than tearing each other down. Addison is allowed to go beyond her cheerleading role and step into her truth. Saying more would be a spoiler, but just know that seeing her claim it was incredible.

The alien newcomers, played by Terry Hu, Matt Cornett and Kyra Tantao, and their hilarious mother ship (RuPaul) are portrayed in a way that makes them approachable rather than frightening. Sure, the residents of Seabrook are a little suspicious of these blue-robed alien beings, but they’re pretty quick to accept them. I guess if you live in a city with zombies and werewolves, aliens aren’t a problem.

Zombies 3 movie review

Unfortunately, this meant our werewolf friends didn’t get much meat in their part of the storyline, which was a bit disappointing. However, their group number was my favorite from the entire film. It gave up thriller mood as they roamed the streets. If Disney decides to do spin-offs, this household is hoping for more werewolves.

From the start, director Paul Hoen has used the previous films to instill classism and racism in audiences. While this goes on zombies 3, this time he also addresses prejudice against LGBTQ+ people. The screenplay by David Light and Joseph Raso handles the character of A-spen, who is non-binary, in a similar way Schott’s Creek did with David’s sexuality. It’s never a cause for concern or something to talk about as if it were, well, foreign. Zed, Addison, and the others don’t bat an eyelid at A-spen because of her choices and use gender-neutral pronouns when talking about her. Just as it should be on this planet called Earth.

The messages are woven into the dialogue and dance-offs in such a way that they never feel ponderous. Rather, they are gentle reminders to be better people and leave a little spark in the viewer’s heart that encourages them to get out there and make a difference.

Eventually, zombies 3 is a fitting ending to a colorful franchise that champions inclusivity, acceptance, and friendship. The musical numbers, positive messages and fun will surely delight fans and even attract some newcomers who want to see the first two films right away. And if even one viewer decides to get out there and make the world a more welcoming place, they definitely deserve the Seabrook Cup.

zombies 3 coming to Disney+ on July 15. A special extended version of the film, including a bonus, will premiere on Disney Channel on August 12.

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