Bounty Films, MA, 85 Mins
Maria Thayer (who’s had prominent roles in films like Hitch, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and State Of Play but hasn’t quite cracked real stardom yet) is the best reason to catch director Kyle Rankin’s dodgy zombie-horror comedy, as her funny, perky performance helps distract you from an impoverished budget and some decidedly dopey and unthreatening flesh-eaters (you wouldn’t have wanted to know these people when they were alive).
Deb Clarington (Maria) is a sweet ranga who wears her heart on her sleeve (awwwww…), and she’s out drinking during the Fourth Of July weekend when she meets the supposedly cute Ryan Waverly (Michael Cassidy), and one thing leads to another and they wind up spending the night together. The awkward morning after prompts Deb to try and get away quickly, but unexpectedly (or maybe not) a zombie-apocalypse-of-sorts has begun outside, and she must team up with Ryan, who proves to be not only up-himself, but a bit of a damn snob too (which makes it hard to like him when he starts falling properly for Deb later – and just pretend you didn’t read that if need be).
Deb and Ryan escape to Ryan’s family mansion and meet several characters including his nefarious Dad Frank, who’s played with standard gusto by Ray Wise as yet another of his flawed, egomaniacal authority figures, and a final sequence is contrived that involves a plot turnaround guaranteed to annoy horror fans who insist upon the rules of zombiedom being followed to the letter.
And yet you’ll probably keep watching for Maria, who holds this whole shonky enterprise together and might have even made George Romero smile (although, then again, George Romero smiles a lot, so that probably wouldn’t be too hard).