Saturday, April 30, 2011

Horror Film Review

Night of the Living Dorks (2004):  Zombie flick!  From Germany!  As you can probably tell, it's a comedy.  And don't worry about dealing with subtitles.  It's dubbed in English (I'll talk about that later).  Not on par with Shaun of the Dead, this one nevertheless has its moments.  I just wish there would have been more of them.

Philip (Tino Mewes) and his friends Wurst (Manuel Cortez) and Konrad (Thomas Schmieder) are not what you'd call popular in their high school.  Konrad has kept a diary of every incident of bullying in his life and carries extra pairs of glasses in his backpack.  Philip has the hots for snotty beauty queen Uschi (Nadine Germann), even though Rebecca (Collien Fernandes), the girl next door with whom he grew up, is way hotter.  And Wurst is the horny class clown who pisses off everybody.  Rebecca, it should be noted, is in a Goth clique and dabbles in the dark arts with her Goth friends.

Let me speed this up a bit.  Philip wants Uschi, asks for a love spell from Rebecca.  The spell involves ashes of a cremated zombie.  Wind blows the ash onto Philip and his friends.  Driving home, they crash and wake up in a morgue.  Yep, they died.  (An aside here.  You see their butts quite a bit as they run around the hospital.  If you like that kind of thing.)  So now they're strong, can't be hurt, and, of course, become popular at school.  Konrad takes his revenge on some bullies, Philip wins over Uschi, and Wurst gets it on with the teacher he's always had a crush on.  Then, as you'd expect, everything goes wrong.  Konrad starts craving human flesh and parts of Philip begin falling off.  For help, they turn to Rebecca who informs them that after 36 hours, they'll stay undead unless the antidote can be concocted and taken in time. 

People smoke a lot of dope in this movie.  Not judging, I'm just saying.  About the dubbing:  I hate it.  I swear the people doing the voice-overs are the same group who voice all of those Japanese anime cartoons.  Voice acting is still acting, and these folks suck at it.  That said, Mewes and the other actors we see on the screen do comedy well.  The scene where Wurst helps Philip staple his penis back on is very funny.  No, you don't see it, although you are treated to an extended shot his butt again.  Asses and marijuana seem to be running themes.  Those nutty Germans.  One last thing...there is some subtle humor referring to World War II.  The gym coach says something like, "That's the can-do attitude that kept us going in the war!"  A student replies quietly, "But sir, we lost." 

The Breakdown

Acting:  As I said, the voice-overs are pretty awful.  The real ones are hit and miss but mostly hit.  The man and woman playing Philip's parents are a hoot.
Story:  Taken from every teen comedy of the 80s.  Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.
Direction:  Mathias Dinter helms the project with a bit of recklessness and goes off course toward the end.  He should have shaved a few minutes off here and there to tighten it up. 
Production Values:  Surprisingly high.  Don't quote me, but I'm pretty sure most foreign films receive funding from some kind of endowment in addition to what production companies stake.  Either way, this movie doesn't have that low-budget feel.
Gore/FX:  Again, I was surprised.  Not with the blood and guts, of which there was very little, but with the CGI.  Its use was minimal, but the effect was amazing. 
The Ending:  Part Weird Science, part Shaun of the Dead.  (Shaun and Dorks were both made in 2004, so I'm not sure which is copying which.)  I'll just say it's not a shocker.  It's...funny. 
The Verdict:  Should you see Night of the Living Dorks (Die Nacht der lebenden Loser)?  Ja.  Es ist sehr gut.  (Look it up.)  If nothing else, treat yourself to the novelty of German zombie-comedy.  It's free to watch in Netflix's watch instantly section.  So no excuses.  Macht schnell!

My Rating3 out of 5 stars.  (The dubbing kept it from getting 4).

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