Deadheads Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by G2 Pictures
Written and directed by Brett Pierce & Drew T. Pierce
2011, 90 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Screened Monday 29th August 2011 at Frightfest London.
Michael McKiddy as Mike Kellerman
Ross Kidder as Brent Guthrie
Markus Taylor as Cheese
Thomas Galasso as Thomas Jeremiah
Natalie Victoria as Ellie Masterson
Grow up around a father who was responsible for the special effects on a horror movie and it will probably have a profound effect on your career choice. That’s exactly what happened with The Pierce Brothers, offspring of Bart Pierce — who was responsible for providing much of the visual effects work that made a hit of The Evil Dead. And this is his legacy: two sons who have created quite possibly one of the most original zombie movies in recent years.
Mike Kinnerman is a regular guy, but he’s just woken up to find out he’s now one of the undead. Except he’s not like your regular zombies; he talks, he thinks, and the idea of eating people is disgusting to him. He’s just like you or I, apart from the fact he’s dead and rotting. There’s a bit of a zombie outbreak going on and Mike finds that there are also plenty of lower-order zombies shuffling about (the ones that moan and eat people). Companionship for Mike comes in the form of Brent, another higher-order zombie who died from auto-erotic asphyxiation.
Mike begins to have flashbacks to his life and remembers that, three years ago, he was about to propose to his girlfriend when he was murdered. Seeing the proposal as the last vestige of his life, he is determined to track down his old flame and see her one last time. So the road trip is on with Mike, Brent and their pet zombie Cheese hitching a ride with old-timer, Cliff, who’s heading to the coast to scatter the ashes of his Vietnamese ex-hooker wife Pei-Pei.
But in the background, the government agency that is responsible for the zombie outbreak has despatched a team to track down the undead friends...
It’s always going to be touch and go with horror comedies as very often they’re too much either way; not enough gore to satisfy horror fans and not enough funny moments to make it a decent comedy. Deadheads bucks that trend completely and delivers on every level, always respecting the rules of the zombie genre and at the same time turning them on their heads.
The two leads, Michael McKiddy (Mike) and Ross Kidder (Brent), play superbly to each other’s characters. Mike’s perpetual disgust with Brent’s embracing of his new life is exactly what you’d expect from the straight guy and Brent’s happy-go-lucky style makes for some extremely funny scenes. Add to this Markus Taylor’s excellent non-speaking performance as Cheese and you have a road-trip threesome like you’ve never seen before. It’s Planes, Trains and Automobiles with zombies. And an extra pet zombie.
Gore-wise, horror fans will not be disappointed. The roaming lower-orders make for frequent and bloody shotgun fodder at the hands of the government team sent to catch Mike and Brent. There’s even a scene in the lab, very reminiscent of Romero’s Day of the Dead, as a doctor brings a higher back to life, even though the guy is only actually half a body.
It couldn’t go without saying that there is also a remarkable amount of heart in Deadheads too, and I’m not talking about organs being ripped out of bodies here. The strong bond that the zombie trio makes with pensioner Cliff culminates in a scene which is remarkably emotional and touching. Mike’s quest for his lost love ends with a slightly cheesier, but no less sweet scene, and the two undead travellers form a remarkably close friendship through their journey.
Deadheads has it all: enough zombie action to satisfy hardened horror addicts, a genuine friendship built between the two heroes and enough touching moments to keep even the most sentimental rom-com addict happy. If Shaun of the Dead instigated a new genre of rom-zom-com then Deadheads is a worthy addition that can stand toe to toe with its peer.
Video, Audio and Special features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screening.