I've lost all interest in watching zombie comedies. The same can be said about movies that stunt cast groups of horror movie veterans. I just watched a movie that combines the two.
Before I start, I haven't read any reviews for this, but I'm willing to bet there isn't a single review out there that doesn't mention SHAUN OF THE DEAD. They're both British zombie comedies, and they both have similar themes and elements. Of course, it's going to get comparisons, but this movie has its' own personality. During the film's animated opening credits, the filmmakers give SHAUN OF THE DEAD a quick nod, by having an appearance of Simon Pegg's Shaun character as a zombie. Also during this brilliant sequence are quick glimpses of zombie Savini, Romero, and Ving Rhames's DAWN OF THE DEAD re-make character.
Trevor has a shed on a piece of land on a gardening allotment. He uses it to distill vodka, and paint figurines for a tabletop role-playing game he's immersed in. Basically, the shed is his clubhouse. He goes there to escape his nagging wife, paint his figures, and daydream about his fantasy life as Casmir the Destroyer. His peaceful getaway is interrupted when a neighboring allotment tenant Mr. Parsons. (Kane Hodder, Jason Voorhees.)
So, Kane Hodder's Mr. Parson's is decked out in a tweed jacket and a driver's cap, and doesn't even attempt an accent. I thought this was a horrible miscast at first, but then he's called, "an American wannabe Englishman, who can't even pronounce the word twat right." After that, I was cool with it.
Mr. Parsons has started a petition among the tenants to get Trevor booted for his lot's disrepair. After a heated argument, Parsons accidentally trips and impales himself on a pitchfork. Feeling to blame, Trevor drags the corpse to his shed. Then he seeks advice from his friend, and fellow game player Graham, who claims to suffer from agoraphobia, but actually, it's just an excuse to stay home and collect benefits. Graham isn't the least bit surprised, and his only advice is not to call the cops since Trevor moved the body.
During this time the zombie apocalypse has broken out and is quickly escalating.
Trevor makes his way back to the lot, and begins to dismember the corpse legs first. He accidentally locks himself in the shed, and Mr. Parson's legless body comes back to life. After a call, Graham shows up to help, and they put an end to Mr. Parsons finally. Then the two heroes vow to valiantly rescue their damsels. Trevor's is his wife, Graham's is his longtime one-sided crush and Trevor's wife's best friend, Harriet.
At this point we meet one of the big highlights of the movie. The cowboy attired loner, Doc. (Bill Mosely, Chop-top.)
Doc is one of Trevor's neighboring tenants on the allotment lot. Everyone suspects him of being a serial killer. Well, it turns out they're all right because he is. He uses his plot to bury his victims. He witnessed Trevor doing away with Mr. Parsons, and he's a big admirer of his work. He sees the zombie apocalypse as "fucking Christmas" and is on a zombie killing spree. He also carries a bag filled with lady parts, "because if you soak them in vinegar long enough, they taste like calamari."
My biggest gripe about this movie is the fact he wasn't given a bigger part. He shows up for a few brief scenes. I really wish he would've tagged along with the main characters.
Michael Berryman (Pluto) plays Harriet's sugar daddy/sex slave. He dies during one of their "sessions" and comes back as a bondage-clad zombie, complete with a horse-tailed butt-plug.
The stunt casting in this did seem a little obvious, mainly because the three horror veterans are Americans surrounded by British actors. But they were given such fun roles I really didn't mind it. I hate it when the horror vets are paraded out for bit parts just so the filmmakers can prove their street cred, or get the attention of the horror community.
Also, kudos to the movie for having Brian Blessed (Prince Vultan) as the narrator.
The jokes in this are really hit and miss. Some of the misses are so awkward I wasn't quite sure if they were jokes at all.
Out of the ones that hit is a running gross-out joke involving a waxing strip that escalates. It had me gagging and laughing. There's a brief bit where they find someone's handheld camera document of the zombie apocalypse that takes the piss out of found footage movies I really liked.
The third act fizzles out a bit. Mostly because Trevor has been a self-centered prick throughout the movie. His wife, Bonni has been a one-note nagging shrew. What plays out at the end doesn't really work because they're the two least likable characters in the movie. I think the third act would've worked better if it were Graham with his one-sided love and lust, Harriet.
Aside from all my nitpicks and gripes, this is still loads of fun. It's not perfect. It's rough around the edges. But it made me laugh quite a few times. Perfect movie for late at night with a few beers.