Anniversary Dinner Movie Review
Written by TGM
Directed by Jessi Gotta
Written by Jessi Gotta & Brian Silliman
2012, 12 minutes, Not Rated
Brian Silliman as Frederick
Jessi Gotta as Leigh
Alyssa Simon as Beth
Anniversary Dinner is a zombie film for those with ADD. Clocking in at roughly ten minutes long (sans credits), it tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic world trying to cope with an outbreak of the undead. Evidently, the most prudent course of action is to turn anyone showing signs of infection into the authorities for proper eradication. In theory, this is an obvious and necessary evil, but in practicality, turning your beloved wife into the incinerators can be a difficult endeavor, no matter how snarling, gnashing, and rotting she might be. Ex-wives on the other hand…
With that in mind, we find a sad-sack named Frederick preparing to celebrate an anniversary with his lovely wife Leigh. The only problem is that Leigh is now in full-on zombie bitch mode, forcing poor Fred to keep her hidden from the authorities by drugging and tying her up to the bed. Bondage fetishists rejoice! Of course, this won’t stop him from preparing a nice meal and prepping a candlelit table so that his revamped marriage might feign some sense of normalcy, at least for one night.
All is going as planned until Fred’s sister Beth shows up and throws a wrench into the works (as sisters often do). When she realizes that Fred is still keeping the living corpse of her sister-in-law as some twisted, lethal Real Doll, she threatens to squeal, which ultimately leads to a very bad night for Beth.
The acting, for the most part, is very good, although Brian Silliman as the lovelorn Fred comes off as a bit stiff (no pun intended). Perhaps this was intentional, to portray shock and a sense of sleepwalking through life, so I’m willing to overlook it. Jessi Gotta as zomb-Leigh does an admirable job of conveying a tormented soul, caught between satiating the violent bloodthirsty urges she now feels raging through her body while desperately holding on to a few of the threads from her previously happy life. The direction and cinematography are excellent, especially – believe it or not – the mundane scenes of food preparation. A spill of spaghetti sauce has never felt so ominous.
I’m not quite sure what the eventual endgame was in creating this short, and I’m struggling to see how this concept is strong enough to carry a full length feature film, but Anniversary Dinner is an entertaining and commendable ride and an admirable contribution to the zombie mythos. Hopefully it can act as the cornerstone for some form of off-beat zombie anthology feature film. Oh, and in retrospect, Frederick’s plan wasn’t too outlandish. How could harboring a zombie wife, with her inane babbling and lack of sex differ from any regular marriage?
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.