Friday, October 16, 2015

Ink & Snow Review: "Zombeavers"

Sneaking in a bonus Friday post here, which will dovetail quite nicely with tomorrow's biannual beaver extravaganza. This film has been, uh, eagerly anticipated here at Ink & Snow/Nuggets brand studios for quite some time now, needless to say there was quite a captive Castor canadensis crowd in the studio for our screening of "Zombeavers."
"We cannot turn against each other right now. That's exactly what the beavers would want."
Directed by Jordan Rubin for his big-screen debut, it's most definitely a "B" (for beaver) movie: but it rated four tail-slaps at our lodge on account of the simple satisfaction at a well-done homage to creature features of old. Standard horror tropes were in abundance, starting with the canister of toxic waste that rolls off a truck when two bros (including cameo from John Mayer of all people) in a biohazard delivery truck accidentally nail a deer in the road. Cue the three sorority sisters on a supportive breakup retreat out for a boy-free weekend at a cousin's country cottage. Cut to an interlude with a kid fishing for the first victim, the creeper neighbor with his gun, and a grizzly bear who will make one of the best-ever call-backs later in the film, and as soon as the boyfriends crash the party, all the ingredients are in place for what will be a very long, bloody night of beaver pandemonium.

Half the comedy comes from the the underlying interpersonal dynamics that lurk just beneath the surface like a, well, ahh... nevermind. Any seriousness gets shed about as fast as everybody's clothing, with oodles of gratuitous skin on display as throughout most of the film the women manage to stay clad only in either bikinis or their underwear. This was nothing compared to the groaning gags that a movie like this just screams for constant setups: Leslie Nielson would be proud.

Personally I recommend something nice & noisy like celery + carrots to accompany your viewing

At just about the half-way mark the Castorial carnage really kicks into high gore with some classic old-school practical effects, blissfully no CG which is a relief after getting beaten in the eyeballs by the usual barrage of overkill effects from the latest Avengers et al. That said the zombeavers themselves at times had the off-putting clumsiness that was reminiscent of Rodents of Unusual Size - I was somewhat surprised after reviewing the special features that is wasn't puppetry but robotics.

Just when you're ready to write it off as a spoof, to its credit the film does abandon predictability with more than a few WTF moments: the fate of the poor doggie, some truly amazing hybridizing, a wincing crotch-shot revenge that'll leave you with a gnawing sense of disquiet, and some gleefully over-the-top transformation sequences that bore repeat viewings in slo-mo no less. I'll defer any more review to the expertise of Arrow In The Head, who covers it with his usual candor, but definitely put this in the same campy horror league as "Black Sheep" and Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive." I know what'll be twitching in my stocking come this holiday.

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