Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Description from Netflix:
Undead slackers Mike and Brent are reborn as part of a major zombie outbreak in this gore-happy comedy that also serves as a love story.  While searching for Mike's missing fiancee, the two monster pals find themselves quarry for bounty hunters.

A few problems with the Netflix description:
The people searching for them aren't so much bounty hunters as they are government agents.  Or government exterminators.  Or something to that effect.  Basically, the zombie outbreak (which, as near as I can tell, was pretty much only taking place in one town in Colorado) was a government test.  But Mike, Brent, and their "special" buddy Cheese managed to escape without being killed, so the government had to track them down.

Also, Mike & Brent weren't just ordinary zombies.  They were injected with something that brought them back from the dead, but also allowed them to keep their memories and personalities.

And Mike's fiancee was less "missing" than she was "back in Michigan, where her and Brent used to live".

Enough with the nit-picking to the review!

My thoughts:
My love of horror movies told from different angles is well-documented (here, here, here, etc), so there's no need to go through it all again.  Suffice it to say, if this kind of movie is done well, I will love it.

And I love this one.

It's a love story/road trip movie, but with zombies.  It's funny, but it also has its share of touching moments that work really well.  It's also obvious that the team behind this movie knows the genre well.  They hit on all the main character types, and even seem to borrow scenes from other movies.  (There's a scene that looks almost exactly like the scene from the original Night of the Living Dead, only we see it from the perspective of the zombies).
Although one of my favorite references isn't even related to the horror genre.  Brent walks up to a counter to buy more popcorn at a drive-in theater, and he unleashes the Universal Greeting from Transformers: The Movie.  "Ba-weep-gra-na-weep-ninny-bon."  That absolutely killed me.

Even with all of the nods to zombie movies, these kinds of movies can't work without good characters.  And this movie has good characters in droves.  Here are my favorites:

Mike - One of our heroes.  Sure, he has a bit of tunnel vision in his quest, but can you blame him?  He's also kind of a wimp, but he's able to get past that with the help of his best zombie friend.

Brent - Our other hero.  I love this guy.  Very funny.  A little crazy.  But he's extremely loyal, and, unlike Mike, he fully embraces his zombieness.  At one point he proclaims, "We've been given a second chance."  Apparently even zombies can be optimistic.

Cheese - The "special" one in the group.  As I mentioned before, he's really more like a pet than anything.  He's like a big lumbering dog.

Ellie - The object of Mike's affection.  It doesn't take very long for us to understand what Mike sees in her.  She's friendly and sweet and thoughtful and and quirky and beautiful.  We don't actually meet her until pretty late in the film, but I immediately loved her.

She also makes for a lovely zombie bride.

Cliff - A Vietnam vet.  Mike, Brent & Cheese hitch a ride with Cliff.  He's on his way to Lake Michigan to spread the ashes of his late wife, Pei-Pei, which works out perfectly for our zombified friends.  He's crazy, and a sexual deviant (but a monogamous one).  He fits right in.  He never makes mention of the fact that his new friends are zombies, either because he's lonely or because he just doesn't care.  My money is on the latter.

McDinkle - One of the agents on the tail of Mike & Brent.  He's a typical over-the-top cop, all gruff voice and bravado, yet he screams like a girl when attacked by a zombie.  He has my favorite lines of the movie.  He's fantastic, and he needs to be in more movies.

Gillman - McDinkle's partner.  He is much more mild-mannered, and I think he even comes to like Mike & Brent a bit by the end.  At least, he laughs at some of Brent's comments, so that's progress.

Thomas - Resident zombie-killing badass who is forced to team up with McDinkle and Gillman.  Is he a good guy forced to try to kill Mike and Brent because he doesn't fully understand what's going on, or is he a bad guy?

Charles - The mastermind behind the whole government conspiracy.

Emily - Charles' assistant.  She doesn't agree with his methods, but she obeys his orders anyway.  She is hopelessly in love with Thomas.  (That's a terrible picture, but it's the best one I could find of her in this movie.  She really was quite lovely.)

That's the main cast.  They don't all have a ton of screen time, but I love each and every one of them...although I do love some of them a little more than others.

If I were to make one change, it would be to shorten one scene in the middle.  Our heroes are sitting around a fire ("Camping!").  Mike and Cliff get high, and Mike starts talking about how movie monsters are killed, and how they figured out how these things killed them.  "What if the Wolfman could be killed by a chicken sandwich?"  I wasn't crazy about the scene, and it seemed to go on for a bit too long.

But that it my one complaint.  I really loved this movie.  It moved along pretty quickly.  It was funny.  It was touching.  I loved the characters.
It's currently on Netflix Instant.  If you have 90 minutes and are looking for a good zombie comedy, definitely check this one out.

Rating: 5/5

Here's the trailer:

And some bonus posters:

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