Zombies 3 review – a lackluster end to the latest Disney Channel Original trilogy

By Nicole Ackman
Published: July 16, 2022
Zombies 3 review - a lackluster end to the latest Disney Channel Original trilogy


Disney’s conclusion to the Zombies series is remarkably similar to its two predecessors and the clumsy handling of its metaphors for acceptance continues.

This review of Disney+ film Zombies 3 (2022) does not contain spoilers.

Disney Channel’s conclusion of its Zombies trilogy doesn’t have much new to offer. Directed by Paul Hoen once again and written by David Light and Joseph Raso, Zombies 3 (2022) follows the formula of the previous two films. This time around, it’s senior year for Zed (Milo Manheim) and Addison (Meg Donnelly) and it’s a group of aliens, rather than zombies or werewolves, who come to Seabrook.

Zombies 3 even begins and ends with the same animated sequences that the first two films had and Addison has yet another identity crisis as she tries to discover where she belongs. All of the characters from the first two movies return from Addison’s annoying and flashy cousin Bucky (Trevor Tordjman) to the fierce werewolf leader Willa (Chandler Kinney). Even Zed’s best friend Eliza (Kylee Russell) appears frequently via video chat though she’s away interning at Z-Corp because the actress couldn’t make filming with everyone else.

The humans, zombies, and werewolves are now living in relative peace preparing for a big football game and for the cheer-off that Addison has organized in which teams from all over will come together for a friendly competition. However, the appearance of a UFO with blue-haired aliens whose home planet has been destroyed puts a change in their plans. Alien panic ensues from everyone but the ever-tolerant and kind Addison until they announce that they’ve come for the cheer-off.

Naturally, they actually have much more serious plans that have brought them to Earth. But fitting in proves to be a challenge for them: while they’re exceptionally talented and smart, they are used to having their emotions suppressed. So when they decide to disengage their emotional suppressors while they’re on Earth, they have to learn what it feels like to experience emotions — and crushes.

While the special effects around the aliens are exactly what you would expect from a DCOM movie and the costumes are subpar, the actors breathe a bit of new life into the trilogy. A-Lan (Matt Cornett), A-Li (Kyra Tantao), and A-Spen (Terry Hu) all bring a cheery intensity to their performances.

Zombies 3 explores all the same themes of the first two films, stressing the importance of tolerance and acceptance and the need to celebrate diversity. We see the continued prejudice that the monsters are facing from those who have yet to adapt and the way that the monsters themselves are quick to turn on the aliens. The aliens seem to be an attempt to comment on undocumented immigrants, but the theme was better explored in the DCOM Descendants 3.

There is also a subplot in which Zed is determined to get into Mountain College, mostly so that he won’t be separated from Addison. However, it would also represent an important step forward for zombies, who still are barred from higher education. They attempt to tackle educational discrimination while also addressing the issues that many couples face senior year in trying to figure out how their relationship will function once they’ve graduated.

If you’re looking for a fitting end to the trilogy and expecting the quality of its predecessors, you’ll likely be content with Zombies 3. The music and dance are somewhat improved, while the costumes are worse. Adult viewers with no attachment to the series are unlikely to find much to appreciate, but it’s a great feature for kids that encourages acceptance of different kinds of people — even if it does so clumsily.

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