22nd Aug2014

Frightfest 2014: ‘Zombeavers’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Chad Anderson, Lexi Atkins, Brent Briscoe, Bill Burr, Cortney Palm, Hutch Dano, Peter Gilroy, Rex Linn, Rachel Melvin | Written by Al Kaplan, Jon Kaplan | Directed by Jordan Rubin

zombeavers-cast

Seriously. Do I have to lay out the plot of a film called Zombeavers? It features zombie beavers. What else do you need to know? Oh well, here goes: Three college friends decide to spend the weekend at a riverside cabin in the woods, man free, after one of the trio splits up with her boyfriend. However the boys see things differently and invite themselves on the trip in the hopes of having a debauched weekend filled with sex and booze. Little do the group know, they are right next door to a lodge of beavers who have been mutated, by an accidental toxic waste spill, into rabid zombeavers.

See, did I really need to explain that? Kids go woods. Kids get dead. Only this time its not a nutter in a hockey mask, or a cannibalistic backwoods family. No, this time it’s undead beavers. Beavers who look like they were made by the same FX team that created the killer rats in the recently re-released Deadly Eyes. Yes, they look THAT bad!

There’s not too much to say about a film whose very title says more than any review can. The acting is risible (it’s manufactured to be that way), the plot is ridiculous (it’s manufactured to be that way) and the FX work is laughable (it’s manufactured to be that way).

Yes, Zombeavers is a film that, like a lot of the faux-grindhouse movies that clog up video store shelves everywhere, has been “manufactured” to a) comply with genre tropes; whilst b) sending up said tropes. In this particular case by adding a ridiculous high-concept monster into the mix. This is the very definition of a parody. But that’s not to say it isn’t a bloody (pardon the pun) fun movie.

Notice I said fun and not good? That’s because the film has, like Sharknado, been purposefully created to be a so-bad-its-good movie (the film is penned by two former composers who both worked on Piranhaconda and Dinocroc vs. Supergator for christ’s sake – they know EXACTLY what they’re doing). And like Sharknado it works. It works not just because it’s a bad-but-good movie but because it is crammed to the proverbial gills with references to other movies – Evil Dead 2, Jaws and (though I maybe reading too much into it) even a nod to the Lee Majors Italian-lensed horror-thriller Killer Fish.

The Ronseal of horror movies (it does exactly what it says on the tin, or in the case in the title), you know exactly what you’re in for with Zombeavers. But that final coda? The post-credits sting? That screamed high-concept, low-budget Troma-style madness? Here’s hoping we DON’T get to see that film made. One pun-filled title is enough thanks!

**** 4/5

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