Monday, December 7, 2009

Zombie Stand-up

Zombie Dearest 2009
Director: David Kemker
Writers: David Kemker and Mark Cavanagh
Starring David Kemker, Paul O'Sullivan, Wendy Jewell, Shauna Black, Ron Lea, Derek McGrath and David Sparrow

Every year there is a gamut of zombie films and it is really a struggle for most films to differentiate themselves from most of the run of the mill zombie films. For every Zombieland there are 20 like Automaton Transfusion. Zombie Dearest is the most recent one I have seen and it combines several types of movies and blends them together well. It is a comedy, a zombie movie, a romantic drama and also a variation on "The Monkey's Paw". These disparate elements all come together and make a great independent film. The film is written directed and starring David Kemker, and he juggles all these various tasks very well. He makes a likable lead character who has many weaknesses's and he tries to overcome them, which makes for much of the hilarity that ensues in the film. The film also has the most entertaining zombie I have seen since Fido. The zombie is very funny and has a great presence in the film and makes it well worth watching.
The plot basics are this, Gus Lawton (Kemker) is a failed comic and he pushes his wife Deborah (Black) too far during a birthday party and she leaves him. She moves into the country into her old and abandoned childhood home, which needs a lot of work to be livable again. Gus follows her and begs for a chance to get back into her good graces. While he is repairing the septic tank he digs up a zombie (Sparrow) and he is able to order him about and has him do the work for him, and he also tries out his new stand up material on him. Things go well at first, but then the zombies primal instincts rise to the fore ground and Gus and Deborah must come together to put a stop to the zombie before it is too late. Soon, the zombie goes on a rampage and Gus is bitten and it is now only a matter of time before Gus becomes a member of the undead and it will then be up to Deborah to end the madness.
This is a original and quirky film. Kemker's direction is very good, he balances it well between wry humor, sheer terror very easily. The best parts are when Gus is trying out his new comedy material on the zombie, I thought that was funny as hell. The script is very good too, it really makes you feel the ineptness of Gus as a person and how hard he tries to be a success to win Deborah's love back. He is a very well rounded and fully realized character that the viewer can really empathize with. The cast is excellent, Kemker as Gus really anchors the film and carries the whole film. He is genuinely funny and definitely has a sad sack feel to his performance that really works. Sparrow as Quinto, the zombie is great too, whenever he laughs, you cannot help but smile because it is so pathetic. He is definitely one of the most memorable zombie I have seen. Black is very good as Deborah and she is very likable and sexy, which goes a long way in a role like this. The SFX and effects are also very well done. The look of Quinto is very believable and you can envision him as a zombie very easily. If you want to see a fresh and original take on zombies, with a darkly comedic spin, check this one out.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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