This well-wrought indie, written and directed by Goran Dukic, has to be the Kewpie doll of current zombie flicks: Its walking dead are a bunch of attractive slackers whose wounds are largely internal. Before the opening credits end, the movie's glum protagonist has tidied his disheveled apartment and slashed his wrists. Zia (Patrick Fugit) kills himself after breaking up with his girlfriend, Desiree (Leslie Bibb). But death does not bring oblivion. The ruling joke is that the afterlife is the same as the world of the living, only worse. Suicide is a form of downward mobility: The streets are shabbier, the jobs lousier, and the people more depressed. Thus, Zia finds himself living in a dump and working for a joint called Kamikaze Pizza. Trolling his neighborhood pickup dive, he meets wild and crazy Russian rocker Eugene (Shea Whigham), whose entire family has, as they say, offed themselves. A skirt chaser, Eugene hopes to enlist mopey Zia in his carousing. But then Zia hears that Desiree followed his suicide with her own, and he and Eugene take to the road to find her. En route, the guys meet a derelict magic clown named Kneller (Tom Waits) and join forces with a spunky hitchhiker (Shannyn Sossamon) who denies that she has in fact killed herself and insists that she's the victim of a cosmic mistake. Aren't we all?
The lighter side of purgatory: Fugit and Sossamon.
Opens at Meridian, Fri., Nov. 2.Rated R. 91 minutes.