What People Can Learn from Disney Channel’s New Movie, ‘ZOMBIES’

Disney’s new original movie ‘ZOMBIES’ provides its audience knowledge of the harsh realities of society both in the past and present.

Set in a fictional post-apocalypse suburban town called Seabrook, “ZOMBIES” tells the story of how a nuclear experiment that went wrong turns a town full of ordinary day-to-day people into brain-eating zombies.

Now, 50 years later after containment and technological developments, humans created a nifty device for zombies to wear on their wrists that has settings to help them function as humans and no longer pose a threat to humanity.

Although a compromise and sort of peace has been made between humans and zombies, there are still restrictions that instill a sense of prejudice and a fear of being different or unique in contrast to the status quo set by the humans of Seabrook.

Zombies are still separated from living freely by a wall that separates them from the rest of the human side of Seabrook and are judged by false perceptions and stereotypes.

But with certain governmental restrictions loosened, zombies are now able to attend schools located on the human side of Seabrook, and problems arise as both zombies and humans struggle to live harmoniously together with others beginning to unite to break the status quo of a forced utopia set by the humans of Seabrook.

So, what’s so interesting about this fictional movie set towards an adolescent audience airing on Disney Channel? It emphasizes a modern-day struggle for civil rights and the outcomes that come with it.

Learning from the Past

Disney’s “ZOMBIES” offers a fresh perspective of how prejudice has worked in our society and how in the past it has dominated the United States throughout the last century.

Through fun upbeat songs, eye-catching choreography and engaging sub-plots viewers can get more from the movie than just a great musical experience. The movie can teach millennials and generation Z’s the importance of the history of the United States’s constant struggle for unity of all people groups.

“ZOMBIES” is able to do this with the desegregation of Seabrook’s human high school. Teenage zombies are finally able to cross the wall with some restrictions applied to them and attend human school. This resembles Brown v. Board of Education when the Supreme Court ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional and first allowed blacks to attend all-white schools.

With the help of character monologuing throughout the movie, the characters are able to offer a personal perspective on the issues that arise within the movie. The witty and comical settings and interactions of the characters help lighten the mood of more severe issues that resemble prejudice and racism that have been present in the U.S. over the course of time.

The movie is a stepping stone that can help younger generations understand the consequences of divided beliefs and the problems that arise when individuals are unable to compromise or live in harmony as a community. “ZOMBIES” makes sure that the audience learns how prejudice and racism can still live on today.

Breaking Barriers

The movie also helps the audience understand the importance of breaking barriers and making a change, even if that means breaking from the status quo and rules implemented by society.

When black people first attended white schools, there was still segregation in their classrooms, cafeterias, with the school supplies and opportunities that were offered. The zombies in the movie face the same challenges when they are placed in a basement and given a janitor who is unqualified to teach them instead of having the opportunity to sit in class with the rest of the humans.

One zombie decides to not follow these protocols and explores the school. He then meets a human girl who begins a romantic relationship with him where they later begin to run into trouble with zombies and humans alike due to their desire to be together.

The forbidden love notion instilled by the movies allows the audience to see a new perspective of how interracial dating was perceived during the time of the civil rights movements where some prejudices can still live on today in some societies.

“ZOMBIES,” in a way, can represent how blacks were enslaved, colonized and made to adapt to human or white protocols over the course of U.S. history. Their struggle to fit in and break civil barriers that prevent them from fulling indwelling with Seabrook society resembles the struggle many faced during the Civil Rights Movement of the late 20th century.

An Exemplary Achievement

Although many consider Disney Channel’s low-budget films to be extremely cheesy they are one of the few films that continue to live on with those who watch them during their childhood. Disney’s “ZOMBIES” is one of the channels best achievements since “High School Musical,” with an even greater message to send its viewers.

“ZOMBIES” is an underlying statement for those who continue to fight for their individual rights and can be a beacon of hope that close-minded beliefs always fall short in trying to keep restrictions on a people group or individual.

Briana Perez, University of Texas at San Antonio

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Briana Perez

University of Texas at San Antonio
English/Professional Writing

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