I, Zombie makes an early stab at a theme that would be quite popular in the most recent slate of zombie films. It's most clear descendants are movies like American Zombie, Zombie Honeymoon, and Zombies Anonymous. All three films follow I, Zombie's lead in thinking about what it would be like to be a conscious zombie. In some ways, this film explores that issue more intimately than do the later films.
The film follows Brian, a graduate student who gets bitten by a zombie and finds himself turned into one. He has an uncontrollable hunger for people and is slowly rotting as he hides away from the world. It's a grim tale of desperation and sorrow, with lots of lingering shots focused on Brian's painful life hiding in his flat. A few other thoughts:
* While the film contemplates the question of what it would be like to become a zombie quite well, it veers quite far from the recipe necessary for an enjoyable zombie film. There's not much tension as Brian never seems in any sort of danger. A persistant detective (ala Zombie Honeymoon) would have made the story a bit more exciting.
* The gloomy desperation and haunted narrative reminds me a lot of An American Werewolf in London, which also considers the spiritual tragedy of becoming a monster.
* This movie has one of the more horrifying consequences of rotting I've seen in a zombie film, made much worse by the emotional depth of the scene in which it occurs.
* There's not a whole lot of action or excitement in the film. Instead, its matter-of-fact cinematography and shallow narrative arc short circuit most of the horror-pleasure that one finds in these films. In so doing, I could see it being pretty unsatisfying for people looking for more conventional fare. That said, I think it makes a fine companion to those other films I mentioned above.
* The makeup effects and dream sequences are impressive and solid.
Overall, it's worth seeing, but more recent films do the same work in a more entertaining way.