After a break up, college teen Jenn (Lexi Atkins) and her friends Mary (Rachel Melvin) and Zoe (Cortney Palm) travel to Mary’s cousins’ wood cabin in the countryside for a weekend of swimming, tiny shorts and fun without boys or mobile phones. Their boyfriends, including Jenn’s ex, aren’t the only unexpected creatures to show up that weekend as they are all attacked by zombie beavers, the undead result of toxic waste spillage.
You always come to one of these movies, one of the knowingly b-movie concept silly films that have sprung up recently, with a sense of trepidation. When they work, something extremely rare, they are a lot of silly fun, a stupid concept bolstered by a raft of genuinely funny moments and jokes written in. But when they don’t, they are usually films that are just coasting on the hope that their ‘wacky’ and silly concept will allow them to get through the running time. Unfortunately, Zombeavers dams itself firmly in to the latter, as the filmmakers forget to add any funny jokes past the mildly amusing title.
The fact that the whole thing is so generic doesn’t help either. The plot is cut and paste from teen horror movies 101, and for you to do this you really need to do something interesting, original, subversive and most importantly funny with it, like in the excellent and genre changing Cabin in the Woods. Instead, Zombeavers just goes with the lazy and simple option of treading over the same ground that we’ve seen countless times before. The characters are all cardboard cut-outs, including the jock boyfriends, one of them the ‘comic relief’, one the brave and handsome athlete, and the third the cheater looking to get back in to the good books, and all of them are horny. The girls are the same, the broken hearted and good one, the best friend who is looking out for her but has a secret of her own and the highly sexed one who gets naked very quickly. Throw in some well-meaning, elderly neighbours and a seemingly weird but actually slightly heroic country hick man with a gun and you have a wooden cast of forgettable and one dimensional characters, played by actors you imagine you will never see again.
Let’s move on to the zombeavers themselves. They are extremely ropey puppets that look like they’ve been pulled out of a skip behind a children’s show studio from the 1980’s. They move like they’re either wind up or are just stuck on a stick. I guess this is another attempt at being funny but really it’s just lazy and dull. The film’s one glimmer of an interesting idea is that when the human characters are bitten by a zombeaver they eventually become a zombeaver themselves. The make-up effects on this are surprisingly effective, injecting a little bit of body horror into proceedings.
The credits roll with a montage of outtakes of the cast cracking up and things not working. I’m glad to see someone had a laugh because of this movie because I certainly didn’t.
Zombeavers is a one joke film where the joke doesn’t extend any further than the fairly poor pun title. Another barely self-aware dud of a film to add to the recent glut of ‘comedy b-movies’ that have appeared in recent years.