Monday, June 24, 2013

Teenage zombies, in school... this a true story?


Yes they are everywhere.
And well, I don't care. People keep talking about how the genre will be over saturated, and blah-blah... well those are probably the same people that said 7-8 years ago the superhero film market was getting "over saturated" ...
Bottomline zombies, in some incarnation or another have been around for going on 60+ years. I seriously doubt Walking Dead, and the seemingly endless parade of indie straight to VOD and BD, will kill the genre if it survived through bell bottoms, and the Bush administration (zing!).

So remember a few lines back when I brought up the endless stream of VOD and BD zombie films? Ya. That was fun. Guess what we have here. Okay. Let's dig into the um... brains... of the film shall we... Ah. I think my puns are losing a lil something you know? Anywho...

Even zombies love finger food... (I had to lol)

Eddie (one of my Fav Tv chaps from the last few years, Jacob Zachar, of Greek), the likeable super geek, gets detention. He joins the cheerleader, Janet (a solid young actress from one of my guilty pleasures - Revenge, Christa B. Allen), the sexy goth girl Willow (Alexa Nikolas of Zoey 101), two jerk jocks, and the stoner, and token minority member - Ash (fresh off the enjoyable 21 & over).

So there they are in detention when a student decides to go Zombie on them, and attack the supervising Teacher. The students quickly realize the school is being overrun with the undead. And well, a lot of peeps are getting eaten. Yes, this motley crew with have to learn to fight through their stereotyped hatred and find common ground, and together reach a safer ground... (see what I did there, ya), or well, at least a fortified library.

This movie is a comedy first. It is not meant to be scary. And to those that are asking Well, Chuck, I mean this is a horror film, shouldn't it be scary? To them I say, no, the funny thing about horror is it doesn't always have to be scary. It can be silly, and fun, and gorefilled, and damned if the horror going public at large don't enjoy. But... BUT... there are a few wee matters of criteria you must fill first, in order to be welcomed into this reviewers arms....

If you are going to be a fun, cheesy, gore flick... well you need good gore. And this movie comes through. Sure it's not earth shattering, but its pretty decent practical, and what CGI there is in it is limited enough tat it doesn't stand out, or annoy. You also need a script that keep the tongue in cheek without making you shake your head over shit dialogue or characters. And for my two cents - Boonsweet approves. The script is aware they are using the By the numbers horror set up. They embrace it, revel in it, and dammit if there weren't a few solid interactions by the folks in the film challenging those stereotypes and the whys of them, even in a horror setting. I actually really enjoyed the conversation at one point between Eddie, and Janet. It was bang on to tickle your funny bone, but just enough heart to remind you might just give a crap a bit about these bY the number folks.

I bet you can pick out each genre regular here... and go!

So, that means, if you are going to try to have a few real moments, balanced in a whole bunch of blood cheese... and maybe a few unexpected creatures... You need the acting talent to back it up. I would have liked to see Alexa's Willow character cut loose a little more. Cover her in some blood and parts. She's almost too PG for this film, but other than that... Eddie borrows all the charm of Greek's lead, and even plays off that a little. Janet is a dynamite "cooler than you chick" and gets a few chances to really get her shine on here; and the two jocks do alright. Enough to limit any groans you might have been expecting to send the screens way. The stoner asian has a few great lines, but as you might expect serves as little more than a source of drugs, and punchlines.

Considering all the crap that comes out in the horror genre (especially in the Zombie sub genre) this film is above par in most categories. Part of that could be everytime I watch one of these films my expectation are nil... but then again... I still usually feel disappointed, so, take that as you will. The directing... I need to take a moment because this is a debut feature for an actor that has been a little bit here and a little bit there - Alex Craig Mann. And I think he did alright, he also penned the script (based on the play), and well, props on both accounts. It doesn't really come off as too cheap, and avoids that The kids at the local high school could make this kaka feel. Which already separates it from 80% of the zombie films most of us have seen in the last few years.

One of the funner trips down the horror comedy aisle as of late. Be warned. This film does get really, really weird at a few parts... but as i'm weird, I dug. You are probably gonna hear a lot of hate on this film. Genre fans who found it too goofy, or film fans that thought it was too much of what we've seen before... but really, like I said at the beginning, there are only so many ways to approach a zombie flick nowadays. And I thought this one did have something cool to bring to the table.

Movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Horror/Comedy scale 3.5 out of 5 stars.

If you go in expecting the next Shaun of the dead, well damn it you will be sad after. But go into ya couch groove expecting fun, some gore, a few great lines, and decent slow moving zombie action... and you will be a happy Sleepaway camper.

A last thought... the I'm a man song near the end... money!

- Chuck "DoubleTap" Boonsweet


No comments: