Written by Josh Brewer, May 12, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. Tweet to: @theJWBrewer
Title: Zombeavers – Yes, that’s really the title.
Director: Jordan Rubin
Writer: Jordan Rubin, Al Kaplan, John Kaplan
Release Date: March 20th, 2015
Cast: Rachel Melvin, Cortney Palm, Lexi Atkins, Hutch Dano, Jake Weary, Peter Gilroy,
After a chemical spill, a group of college students – adults in their 20’s – run a fowl of a group of mutant zombie beavers with one thing on their rodent-y little minds: turning college jerks into a delicious feast.
Seeing as I’ve already covered Freddy Vs. Jason – check out the review here– I had a week off from the ANOES series to fill with something. This puppy shows up on the Netflix and I’ve checking it out. Intriguingly titled, Zombeavers provides just about exactly what you’d except.
This is a flick were expectations work against you. I walked in expecting nothing – let’s be honest, less than nothing- and got more than that. Sure, this puppy isn’t Shakespeare, but the pieces work pretty well and the flick offers enough liveliness to keep things going until the titular creatures make an appearance.
And when they do, Zombeavers embraces its inherit wackiness and get to work. The second act lives and dies with its gore and beaver puppets(!), which offer plenty of fun times. The kills work well and the flick always manages to stay at least partially interesting. There are a few fun twists and several solid jokes; at its best, Zombeavers works as a less intelligent Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil.
Unlike Tucker and Dale, Zombeavers doesn’t manage its characters particularly well. Most of the “college” students here ring as self-absorbed and unlikable. The three girls do alright, but once the guys show up, things go from “meh” to “nope” fast. I really want to know how these girls put up with these dickheads. And while the budget usually works as an advantage, a few of the early moments could have used some work, especially the GCI. Lastly, the final frames of the flick could use some work. Throwing back to a joke that didn’t really work too well in the first place screamed of writer desperation.
Atkins plays her final girl alright. The character could have used a bit more specificity in the writing, more on that later, but Atkins gives enough to help her out. Palm and Melvin handle their roles well, with Palm getting the most development around. She takes the opportunity, which really helps. Dano and Gilroy both get to play obnoxiously dense characters. They embody it well, but they’re gonna grate on your nerves. Weary plays the only guy with any redeeming qualities. More of him would have been nice. The older actors in the house do a-ok, though the flick doesn’t want to spend too much time giving them much to do.
Rubin gets solid nods to Jaws, The Thing, and Night of the Living Dead into the flick, which raises it above the rest of the middle ground muck. He also manages to get quite a few laughs into the flick, something that makes the early goings much stronger. Alas, the flick lacks any kind of tension and the only big twist seems a touch flat. The shot selection in the non-horror scenes could use a touch up and the flick as a whole seems to start and stop at the beginning.
As a b-movie about zombie beavers, this puppy is more or less successful. A few jokes work and the dialogue snips along well. Each act offers something interesting and new, though I wonder if there weren’t more opportunities once the last twist hits. At 85 minutes, more time could have been added and given to the final set ups, which Zombeavers could have really used. Alas, the characters here are so thin that you can see through them, in some cases the flick can’t really overcome the issue, which drags it down. A few of the character moves reek of a desperate writer and defy all kinds of logic.
The Zombeavers look like pure B-movie fun and a number of the practical effects rock. We get tons of red stuff and a few dismemberment that the film uses well. Alas, the CGI ain’t always up to par, especially early in the flick.
Um, any character with a Y chromosome.
Funny and occasionally fun, Zombeavers works best with either zero expectations or a few beers. Pick one and enjoy.