Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dead & Breakfast (2005)

Much like punk rock, the horror genre seems more than any other filmic genre to encourage a DIY spirit. (You never hear about fifteen-year-old kids making romantic comedies in their basements, for example.) This is, naturally, A Good Thing from a democratic standpoint (you wanna be a filmmaker? go for it!). This effect has its downside, though, and it gets manifested in films like this -- in far too many homegrown horror flicks, the do-it-yourself aesthetic gets expanded to "do it yourself... as stupidly as possible". Most no-budget horror flicks have a rate of cleverness and watchability that is inversely proportional to their level of gore and/or redneck jokes -- call it the Troma Eventuality. It's especially frustrating when watching a film like this voodoo (zombie) lounge, where the occasional flashes of ingenuity (the makeshift rifles were cool, if improbable) tip you off that the filmmakers are only playing dumb in an effort to access a wider audience. The first half is unforgiveably dire in this respect, with way too much small-town humor and probably the longest, least-funny slipping-on-blood scene ever. The film eventually finds a workable level about halfway through when the zombies start tearing shit apart, but even then it's not that great. It's enthusiastic but klutzy, like a bad dancer. It really needed more moments like the hick-hop dancing-zombie interlude. Now that shit was funny, precisely because it was both unexpected and fairly clever as these things go. Underachievers please try harder, etc.

Grade: C-


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