This is another film to join the growing ranks of zombie comedy films but this seemed to miss its targets a bit more than those it hit and while it was amusing enough for a one time watch it just felt a bit inconsequential and burdened with a crude political subtext.
The zombie plague arrives at the island town of Port Gamble in form of a body washed up on the beach which attacks an old beachcomber. Like most zombie films the story is not about the zombies but about the people. The characters in this film make up cross-section of modern paranoia and prejudice with the sympathetic characters being those subjected to these prejudices. Frida Abbas (Janette Armand) is the American born daughter of Ali Abbas (Ali Hamedani) an Iranian restaurant owner but she gets called Iraqi by her wannabe-redneck neighbour Joe Miller (Russell Hodgkinson) who doesn’t care about the difference. Frida has come back to Port Gamble after dropping out of her studies at Princeton. Ali wants her to work in restaurant and take it over from him but Frida wants something more even if she’s not sure what. Frida has a boyfriend called Derek (Ryan Barret) who used to work as a dishwasher in her father’s restaurant until he got sacked for being late too often. Naturally Ali does not approve of Derek who is a bit of an idiot who also makes the mistake of calling Frida an Iraqi just like her neighbour does.
Tom (Doug Fahl) has come back to Port Gamble with his boyfriend Lance (Cooper Hopkins) to come out to his mother. Lance is comfortably out of the closet but Tom is nervous about the people he grew up with finding out he is gay which is not helped by Lance wearing an ‘I’m with him,‘ T-shirt. They run into Tom’s high school teacher Cheryl Banks (Cornelia Moore) who assumes that they are a couple as soon as she meets them which might be a hint that local people already know but don’t really care.
We get to see the pathetically low congregation at the local church who are listening to the preacher Reverend Haggis (Bill Johns) blaming the Dominionist trio of abortion, Islamic terrorism and homosexual marriage for all the world’s ills. He doesn’t seem very sure of himself so it’s lucky for him, that he will be facing the very apocalypse he hammers on about to the half dozen believers in his church. One of the believers is the town’s mayor Hal E. Burton (James Mesher) [do you get it? Halliburton is the notorious oilfield services with important links to several senior US Republican Party politicians].
The zombie plague has been gradually spreading while we have been getting introduced to the characters. Lance and Mike are having dinner with Mike’s mother (Linda Jensen) and are so preoccupied with Lance coming out to her that they barely pay any attention to the bite on her hand. Lance does his big announcement to his mother while he is in the kitchen but she’s turned into a zombie and attacks Mike. They fight her off but she impales herself on a toasting fork Mike is using to trying hold her off. Mike pins her to the wall and they turn on the TV to see if the news has any answers to what is going on. The TV news has as mixture of information mixed in with speculation and assumption, calling it virus but then calling its victims zombies. The main assumption on the news is that it is a biological terrorist attack.
Frida sneaked out to be with Derek who gets to show us how much of an idiot he is since it’s here he talks about Frida being Iraqi. He doesn’t even get the point when Frida calls him Norwegian in return. He thinks he’s a musician and so Frida has to listen to a song that he wrote about her. This lovely romantic scene is rudely interrupted when zombies attack and Derek gets killed in a very brutal way. Frida manages to escape and she makes her way back home.
Her house is surrounded by zombies but Joe Miller’s wife Judy (Victoria Drake) offers Frida shelter in their cellar. As they get in the cellar a zombie bites Judy’s arm. At first everything is okay but when Joe sees that the terrorist blamed on TV has a medallion like Frida’s he starts getting the delusion that he’s Jack Bauer interrogating a terrorist. If Judy wasn’t slowly turning into a zombie she’d put a stop Joe’s madness but the only other person in the cellar is his teenage son Brian (Andrew Hyde) who is afraid to stand up to his father.
After Lance and Mike get out of Mike’s mother’s house they have to fight through streets full of zombies. They meet up with other survivors who don’t last long. They meet up with Cheryl who has had her own very bad time. They get into the church where the congregation are having a bingo night and seem unaware of what’s going on outside. One look out the door convinces them and so of course Haggis spins it into the apocalypse. When they find out that Lance and Mike are gay they want to cure them so they too can be saved.
I think the worst thing a horror comedy can do is fail to be either funny or scary. This film just plays it too safe and although the film-makers may think themselves brave to include gay characters it plays it safe with a relationship free of any passion or sexuality or any personality beyond their sexuality. As you can probably see this film seems to be mainly a satire about US society and it goes for the easy targets on the right-wing. This did tend to push the zombie aspect of the film to the side which is a pity because the zombie effects were okay though there was some CGI used. I can’t give this film a strong recommendation but humour is very subjective and it might make you laugh more than I did.