Sunday, February 3, 2013

Horror Film Review

DeadHeads (2011):  Zombie flick!  From Michigan!  Die-hard zombie fans will understand the significance of this location.  Or maybe not.  Anyway, this is a comedy on par with Shaun of the Dead and, in some ways, surpasses it.  I know, I know...blasphemy, right?  Not really.  It really is that funny.  And besides, I became less enamored with SOTD when I discovered first hand that Simon Pegg is a douche.

Mike (Michael McKiddy) wakes up in a trashed government lab confused and disoriented.  He wanders away, runs into zombies eating folks, freaks, and then comes across a cabin in the woods where a black man (Thomas Galasso) has taken charge in an attempt to protect his fellow cabin mates.  (This is an homage to Night of the Living Dead, of course.)  Soon thereafter, Mike encounters Brent (Ross Kidder) who finally convinces him that they're both dead and now, somehow, are zombies.  Brent is the slacker, devil-may-care type to Mike's pragmatic, what-the-hell-is-going-on type.  And then there's Cheese (Markus Taylor), a full-blown zombie Brent has sort of adopted as a pet.  When Mike remembers he was going to propose to his girlfriend Ellie (Natalie Victoria), they decide to head back to Michigan to find her...despite the fact that Mike's been dead three years.  Another bit of a wrinkle is that Ellie's dad is the one who killed him and is also the head of the government lab.  Oh, and they're being pursued by government goons, one of whom is McDinkle (Benjamin Webster), a real jackoff who fancies himself some kind of Rambo.  Widower Cliff (Harry Burkey) on his way to Lake Michigan to scatter his wife's ashes picks up the hitchhiking trio and a series of misadventures ensues.  Mike and Brent do eventually make it back to Mike's hometown and find Ellie.  What happens?  Sorry.  No spoilers for movies I like.

There are many little moments of awesomeness in this film that can't all be mentioned, so I'll hit the highlights.  The group makes a pit stop at a drive-in movie theater.  I have to say, there's something profoundly groovy about seeing our zombie heroes eating popcorn and watching The Evil Dead.  Other things...a running gag is Mike's arm periodically falling off.  Brent's penis falls off while he's having a pee and so he sticks it in his pocket.  Later, McDinkle catches him and when he pats him down, he gets a surprise.  Cheese speaks only one word throughout the entire film but may be the funniest one of the lot.  And I liked the nods to other movies.  Like Raiders of the Lost Ark...the scene where Indy is dragged behind the truck; only here, Mike uses Cheese's large intestine instead of a whip.  As you can tell, the filmmakers are first and foremost movie fans and the proof is in all of the homages and inside jokes. 

Now for the surprising part.  DeadHeads has some heart going for it.  Granted, we're not talking about a Peter Weir or Jane Campion film here, but they made an effort to infuse a bit of pathos and you find yourself becoming emotionally invested in these off-the-wall characters.  Could have knocked me over with a feather.  One last thing...the parallels between this film and the newly released Warm Bodies is interesting.  A zombie retains self-awareness and goes after the woman he loves.  As you listen to the hype and rave reviews of Warm Bodies, remember that DeadHeads came out two years earlier.  Just sayin'. 


Acting:  Webster as McDinkle is annoyingly bad.  Everyone else is pretty good.  Ross Kidder bears a striking resemblance to a friend of mine.  It's spooky.
Story:  I like the flow of the narrative in addition to the basic concept.  There's a reason you see very few of these...they're damned difficult to get right.  In this case, they did.
Direction:  Pierce brothers Brett and Drew not only wrote DeadHeads but also directed.  There were many parts of the film where a slight misstep could have run it off the rails.  Didn't happen, though.  Interestingly, the brothers' father worked on the original The Evil Dead with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell.  That definitely explains a lot.
Production Values:  I don't know what the budget was, but it certainly looks good.  Many different sets and set ups, numerous interior and exterior shots...all well done.  Knowing nothing about the film going in, I was afraid.  I needn't have been, though. 
Gore/FX:  Yes, well, I can report that there was no skimping on the carnage.  And you do see Brent's penis.  Sort of.  The zombie make-up is nothing to sneeze at either. 
Scares:  Not really.  They were focused like a laser beam on humor. 
Ending:  A little sugary and illogical but I liked it.  I really liked that they showed outtakes during the end credits.  Funny stuff.
Verdict:  Should you see DeadHeads?  This is a no-brainer.  One of the best horror comedies I've seen, it's equal to or better than Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Vampire Killers, Juan of the Dead, and Doghouse.  In other words, watch it. 

Rating:  4 out of 5 

1 comment:

  1. I am regular visіtor, how are you eveгybody?
    This pоst posted at this website is гeally nice.

    Feel fгee tο ѵіsit my blog post cialis