Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dead & Breakfast (2004)

While the debt Dead & Breakfast (2004) has to Peter Jackson's Braindead (1992 / trailer) is obvious, Matthew Leutwyler's film doesn't really reach the same level as the New Zealand masterpiece... but damn, it sure does a good job trying. Twenty-nine gallons of blood were used while making the film and it shows... and, as a result, despite the lamentable lack of naked female flesh that trash films like this should by law be required to have, the film is indeed perfect DVD-fodder for a bad-film get together with the guys. Leutwyler is obviously an unapologetic fan of splatter and comic books, and he lets his love show, and while many of the jokes are predictable, don't work or fall flat, enough fun hits the mark to make the film a highly enjoyable 85 minutes.
The plot is that of 1,000 other films: a group of twenty-somethings on the way somewhere (a marriage) get lost and end up spending the night at a B&D in the middle of nowhere when the shit hits the fan and the blood blows fountains. Suddenly the "dead" walk and the last survivors take retreat in the boarded-up B&D as the dead shuffle and dance their way to the final showdown... Of course, a lot more stuff does happen, but watch the film to find out what.
In regard to the oddly familiar faces that populate the flick, the group of twenty-somethings do rather a lot with the little that roles like this tend to have. (David Carradine has a short guest appearance as the owner of the B&D, but his casting is less good than mandatory.) Oz Perkins is properly strange both before and after his transformation – as might be expected from a guy who not only had his acting debut as the child Norman Bates in Psycho II (1983 / trailer) but is actually a son of that great weirdo Anthony Perkins. Jeremy Sisto (May 2002 / trailer) is laid back like always – at least until he loses his head, after which he becomes a rather funny guy. Ever Carradine does a fine job as the babe-with-balls, Erik Palladino manages to make his asshole of a character become likeable and even gets the most laughs in variety of his scenes... hell, everyone does good in the film. About the only thing that grows old rather quick is the country-singing narrator who really should've remained a one-or-two-scene joke instead of a running gag.
On a whole, self-referential zombie-Hicksville comedy went further and was done better two years later in Slither (2006 / trailer), but Slither obviously had a larger budget than this labor of love, and even if Slither has a lot more zombies and goo, it doesn't bathe in the cheap gore to the hilarious excesses of this Dead & Breakfast.

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