Monday, December 08, 2008
Movie Review - Zombie Honeymoon (2004)
I've recently upgraded my Netflix account so that I can actually get more zombie flicks than I've been... so that means more reviews for you, my faithful and undead readers!
Much to the dismay of Mrs. Zombie, every other movie on the queue is now a horror or zombie movie of some sort. So, between the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II, Mary Poppins, and Madagascar that were normally taking up precious Netflix space - space that I was paying for mind you - one can now find the newest, greatest, and undoubtedly lamest horror flicks out there.
Zombie Honeymoon was one of the first fruits that were borne to me with my new Doctor Zombie Netflix Selfishness Plan.
Zombe Honeymoon, appropriately, tells the story of a couple who get married and run off to the Jersey Shore to spend their honeymoon. They're both young and punky and the husband is a surfer (In New Jersey?).
They are renting a beach house from an uncle and, as they bask in their new nuptials, tragedy of the zombie-type ensues. Denise, the pretty wife, and Danny, the husband, are enjoying the beach when Danny is attacked by and barfed on by a zombie that staggers out of the surf.
Danny becomes a zombie and the rest of the movie explores the tagline of the movie..."In sickness and in health!"; and while Danny tries to control his unnatural hunger for human flesh, Denise spends the movie trying to reconcile her love for Danny and his sudden prediliction for abducting, killing, and eating everyone who they come in contact with.
This zombie movie is unique in that it throws many of the conventions of a traditional zombie flick out the window. In other words, if you're a zombie purist, this movie is going to piss you the fuck off.
If you're more open-minded, however, you may actually get some enjoyment out of it.
How does it buck convention? Well, primarily, Danny - while looking paler and a little sicker - doesn't really rot and fall apart right away. Much of the movie he looks normal. Also, he talks and acts normal, except for an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Of course - by the end he's a ravenous, gory, decomposing mess... but it takes him a bit to get there.
The movie is less a zombie movie and more a movie about the love and relationship of a couple facing adversity. Normally, this would induce cursing and wailing and the angered gnashing of Doctor Zombie's undead teeth -- but the movie is redeemed by some good gore. And, although it rises very little above its low budget niche, it does tell an interesting story.
Most of the actors were of the usual, poorly seasoned rookies who would naturally star in low budget, direct-to-video zombie fare; but the obvious standout was the actress who played Denise - Irish actress, Tracy Coogan. She was incredibly attractive and gave the character of Denise a sexiness that transcended the otherwise low production quality. She was made more sexy by the fact that she can't entirely hide her Irish accent. What can Dr. Zombie say - I'm an Irish boy and I love Irish lasses! It helps that she looks like a hotter version of Corey Feldman's wife, Susie Fledman.
And, although director and writer David Gebroe wrote this with the intention of purging some personal demons (he made the movie and based it on the true story of two friends, one of whom died on their honeymoon) he did an admirable job of making it scary enough to not get lost and wallow in the romantic crap.
One standout scene was towards the end when, as Danny becomes less and less human, he kills several people and Denise is trapped in the house with him as he feeds. Torn between her love for Danny and her trust that he won't hurt her, she's also terrified by the monster he's become. Her terror and anomie is palpable and it is made devastatingly more visceral in that, as she is cowering in her room, Danny is feeding dowstairs. The scene is downright disturbing and the sound of Danny gnoshing on his victims throughout is spot on and delightfully chilling. It makes a brilliant counterpoint to Denise's horror.
Speaking of sound, the music was great. The soundtrack was a good combination of surf rock, ska, old school punk, and reggae. The music helped the story and, honestly, pleased the Doctor immensely. In fact, the videography, coupled with the old punk opening of the movie made it necessary for me to pause and double check the date of the movie. It had a retro 80's feel to it that may or may not have made me feel like I was watching something from the golden era of 80's horror. Perhaps that's why I was so forgiving of a film that is a zombie movie only tangentially.
So, in the final analysis, I was pleased and didn't feel like I'd totally wasted my time. It had good gore, an interesting story, and - although it wasn't a traditional zombie film - it was still good. If you happen to catch it on a cable channel, or want to rent it because you need to feed your zombie habit, you could do worse. Doctor Z. recommends it. Seriously. Additionally, it's won several independent film fests and it does so by finding a good balance between being a quirky independent film and a zombie genre homage - so take that for what it's worth...
Doctor Zombies Rating: 4 out of 5 Chomped Brains!!!