Saturday 3 January 2009

Dead and Deader (2006)

So I noticed that there's a new channel available on my Cox digital cable called Chiller, that shows a bunch of horror TV shows and a bunch of modern movies I haven't seen. The movies mostly look as fascinating as they do awful: of the 24 movies they're showing in January, no less than three of them are in the bottom 100 at IMDb, but they also include John Schlesinger's The Believers, along with films featuring what seems like half the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Charisma Carpenter, Julie Benz and Armin Shimerman, plus other TV names (and former TV names) like John de Lancie, Bruce Boxleitner, Renee O'Connor, Yancy Butler and Dean Cain. More importantly, there are also names I pay serious attention to: John Billingsley and Jeffrey Combs.

This one combines all three categories: starring Dean Cain but also featuring John Billingsley and Armin Shimerman. Unfortunately there's nowhere enough of either, because we concentrate far more on Dean Cain, who spends half the film dressed like Don Johnson, Guy Torry as a wisecracking black cook entirely there for comic relief and TV soap girl Susan Ward as a tough film geek bartender girl. If you're expecting anything remotely serious, you're definitely looking at the wrong movie.

We begin in Cambodia where a US army special forces unit heads in to a 'humanitarian medical relief' hut that broke off communication two days earlier, only to find it full of zombies and scorpions. Soon they're all toast and Lt Robert Quinn comes home in a body bag. The catch is that he wakes up back at Fort Preston, CA right as the coroner begins his autopsy. He has no vital signs, heightened strength, enhanced senses, an ability to heal in no time flat and a thirst for red meat. Yep, he's a zombie.

However, while he certainly appears to be dead he isn't completely zombified, unlike his fellow soldiers who are full on eat people's throats out zombies, probably because unlike them, he cut the scorpion out of his arm and smashed it with a board. So Dean Cain gets to kick lots of ass, the military police get to not believe a word he says and he gets to escape with the black cook to fill up the last hour of the film with virus blocking, ass kicking, zombie killing comedy.

This is not a good movie, make no mistake about it. In fact it's a terrible movie.. However it knows full well that it's a terrible movie and runs with it. In fact it's a fine ride and is a peach of a candidate for a late night beer session. Definitely the more the merrier, and I mean beer as well as drinkers. In fact it would probably get better with each viewing, because of the amazingly high quotability factor, with a room full of drunkards laughing their asses off at all the pop culture references. There are many of them, some are funny and many require a large alcohol intake to avoid being painful.

This is definitely a film that wants to be hip, from the wise cracking black sidekick picking a Thriller era Michael Jackson jacket as a disguise to a mortuary attendant who embalms corpses to the accompaniment of Black Sabbath's You Sold My Soul to Rock 'n' Roll. And you just can't go wrong with a midget zombie castrating a redneck with his teeth. Watch it for any other reason other than late night drunken fun and you're not likely to find it much good at all. You may not throw up your hands in disgust (but you might), but you're certainly not going to rave about it to anyone.

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