The title of this movie throws up a lot of warning signs, whether it’s the zombie fatigue of non stop flesh eater stories in modern day mainstream media, or the quirky technology angle which highlights that this will be a wacky comedy. Both ideas are pretty exhausting to even think about. I’m pretty sure the name isn’t an attempt to have it confused with a certain Danish film maker’s psychological horror release from this year. But they did previously call it Invasion of the Undead so I can’t be certain. Fortunately the makers are a little less cynical than someone as jaded as me, and they have a few interesting ideas up their sleeves to lend this all a certain likeable quality. This is a film about home made monster masks, sword duels and grinning creatures with flashing eyes and torch light smiles. Let’s take a look into how this all fills out as an actual feature.
Allison (Marie Barker) has a pretty swell deal living in big house away from the city. Despite her mother calling on the phone she’s inherited this place and has it all to herself. It has way too much space for a single job seeker to practically use; however she’s soon sharing with an uninvited guest. A slimy visitor is lurking inside, and it’s decided to try out her en suite bathroom. The walking corpse seems to be trying to style its hair, and it needs a lot of conditioner. Of course Allison stumbles across this and it begins to attack. Fortunately this is interrupted by a local girl scout troupe collecting funds knocking her door. One of their members knows just who to call in the case of ghoul infestation.
Desmond (Greg Garrison) is on call as a paranormal exterminator, though he seems to be spending his time as a store clerk playing videogames on company time. The wannabe business man is desperate for both cash and a girlfriend, so along with walking encyclopedia Jake (D. Schettina) they head over to check out what is a recurring problem lately. Their methods are not sophisticated. Armed with a trunk of occult weapons and a few copies of Fangoria they soon have to find new ways of fighting this evil which is beginning to grow in the woods nearby. Allison isn’t entirely impressed with their service or the thousand dollar invoice Desmond is asking for, but they have a long night ahead of them as things start to get out of hand.
There isn’t exactly a concrete amount of lore involved here, the not-zombies are actually possessed corpses being used by an entity from another dimension called Z’athax, AKA The Pale King… Some are killed with table salt, others seem to go down with basic weapon hits. This isn’t to say there’s not enough exposition involved. In fact there’s far too much. Allison’s house once belonged to one of her ancestors, a man called Drake who dabbled in demon worship and necromancy. Some of his servants are in fact still hanging out in the basement. The flashbacks are a real pacing issue as we’re shown the rituals that began this whole problem as well as the sinister forces Drake was intent on pleasing. It’s at odds with the more straightforward and jokey aspects of this story in which the bumbling duo try and figure this all out. A few lines about evil cults and supernatural daggers would have been fine.
As things progress more monsters are revealed in the nearby vicinity as our heroes come across some kind of castle ruin (it’s only a model) where the big bad has been hiding out. If only more time was spent developing this location – Allison’s living room isn’t really exciting enough. The film for the most part has a garish green and red look to it, but it helps the zombie effects which look far better in the dark. The leader of this rotting horde has a different design from the green faced skulls of the others, he’s more of a grinning monster with a ghastly Chelsea smile. There are a lot of influences to count but this one seems to be The Nightmare Before Christmas. The unexpected moments like this keep it all interesting.
Things get sillier as we move on, including moments where Drake’s former slaves are fed crisps in an effort to make them more helpful (now salt breaks spells) and we get a blue eyed zombie versus red eyed zombie face off. In a sword fight somewhere between Captain Kronos and Scott Pilgrim they also manage to get in some more action before the ending. It’s not fantastic in terms of set pieces or staging, but the effort is welcome. A big dumb demonic finale adds more creature effects which are also appreciated, even if more exposition starts to interrupt the shoe string spectacle. To accompany all this the soundtrack ranges from effective 80s synth tunes to TV movie level stuff at times, but towards the end it’s been dropped in favour of straightforward rock band music.
Ultimately this random mixture sort of describes the whole package with the zanier elements being balanced against mundane plot tropes while the acting ranges from stiff to acceptable as it all unfolds. There are several moments that would have been better dropped or rewritten due to a lack of any pay-off, such as the girl scouts, the undead killing local wildlife for mystery reasons, or Allison’s mother pestering her in the first few scenes. It’s got a certain amount of humour, a certain amount of craft and a certain number of rough edges and moments that need paring down or rethinking. But you could probably do a lot worse for films that use so many familiar moments, they at least have charm on their side.