March 4, 2012

Filthy Review - DeadHeads

DeadHeads (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Infusing comedy into zombie flicks, or zombies into comedies if you prefer, have proved to be quite popular of late. Films such as Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and Night of the Living Dorks amongst others have all tried it, and some have fared better than others. Whilst the apocalyptic nature of the undead movie can be terrifying, it does also lend itself quite comfortably to comedy. Zombies by their very nature can be exceptionally humorous. Well, I think they are anyway.

DeadHeads, from the directing team of the Brothers Pierce (Brett and Drew T.), is a movie that first came to my attention quite a while back and quickly found itself on my “to see” list. This was due in part to the fact that it had snappy artwork, but more to the fact that it did not look like a cheap and cheerful hatchet job made for a buck fifty, with no idea of what does and doesn’t work in a zombie movie. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding though, so with that in mind I slapped the disc in.

We join the movie with Mike finding himself in the midst of some zombie carnage. This in turn causes some serious panic and the usual response; get the flock out of there. Whilst making his “escape” he bumps into Brent, who is a zombie. He’s a zombie, but he talks and he soon informs Mike that he is also indeed a zombie; the bullet holes in his head kind of give it away. Unlike the other zombies though they don’t feel the urge to chow down on human flesh, instead they make their way to a nearby redneck-infested bar.

It is whilst they are here that Mike remembers that he was going to propose to his girlfriend. Aside from that everything else is foggy. So, with nothing better to do, the pair start off on a road trip to find Mike’s girlfriend.

That’s the basic premise of the film, but into that you can add military types, a tag-along zombie named Cheese, and utter loon named McDinkle, mad scientists and numerous other characters and scenarios that help movie the story along. It’s all bloody good fun I’ll have you know.

Where DeadHeads worked best for me is that it focuses on Mike and Brent, and their story, rather than focus on the rest of the zombies. Sure, zombies are shambling around in the movie but the focus is not on them. Instead there is a sharp-as-a-tack script, which only occasionally strays off mark, some superb comedy and a good solid dose of gore. Even though I had a rough idea of how the movie was going to end up, and I was right, it was the enthusiasm and fun journey that took me there that made it worth it.

DeadHeads is classic straight man/comedy sidekick material, with zombies, with Mike being deadly serious and Brent being the comedic foil, and it all worked really well. The Pierce Brothers, who also wrote the movie, have not only made a movie that is very funny, and bloody, but made one that looks and sounds great. The practical effects were a delight, we are treated to a score rather than a metal cacophony and everything just seemed so crisp and fresh. This is kind of ironic considering the amount of decaying flesh that is on display.

If I had anything negative to say about the movie it would be the inclusion of one character, a kind of Governmental yes woman-type, who seemed to break up the flow slightly. It was with these scenes that I felt the movie strayed away from the comedy that had worked up until then. That being said, it is a small part and it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the movie.

What we have here is a very good zombie movie that plays away from conventions of the genre, whilst at times firmly embracing them. The comedy works and the horror works, the cast sell the story to us and I had a blast with it.

For some reason DeadHeads is only, to my knowledge, being released on DVD. This is a bit of a shame as I imagine that it would look great on Blu-ray. I really wouldn’t let that dissuade you though from checking this movie out. Just when I think the genre has run out of gas a movie like this comes along and breathes some life back into the undead.

DeadHeads was a blast from start to finish.

DeadHeads will be released on DVD, through Freestyle Digital Media, on March 6th

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