Snow Day, Bloody Snow Day (2005)

Starring Justin Alley, Ben Dunn, Zach Adair, Tim Tate, Robert Boitor

Directed by Faye Hoerauf and Jessica Baxter
Tangent Productions
Running Time: 13 minutes

Zombies. They make me laugh, man. I’m sure your with me on that sentiment or else Return of the Living Dead and Shaun of the Dead wouldn’t have the cult following they drag behind them. Give me a bunch of zombies going at some poor sap like he was a Big Boy breakfast buffet anytime and I’ll either be salivating like a malnourished geek or looking for a change of underwear if it’s done with the right amount of frightening ferocity (or sly political underpinning ala George Romero’s Dead trilogy). But I’ll also feast on a scoop of funkified undead hilarity if you got some to spare.

Only if, like anything, it’s done right.

To my surprise, the ulcer I usually get watching backyard independent short films, which usually reduces me to the likes of an abused adolescent child, was held at bay while watching this stab at the zombie subgenre, and notably, the news media. A big “rock on with yo’ bad selves” goes out to Seattle-based directors Hoerauf and Baxter for reinvigorating my faith in low, low, low budget filmmaking, even if Snow Day has nothing new to add to the lore, unless you count the fact that zombies see a snow storm as an opportune meteorological event to chow down on the living. And therein lies the fast-paced plot: Seattle falls into a stupor as an unexpected snow storm hits the area (?!), its citizens and local news so caught off guard by the white flakes that they barely have time to react to the sudden rise of crafty corpses hungry for potential grunge rocker and Starbucks consumer flesh. Taking up shovel and Playstation controller in hand, a band of film nerds jump into the fray in hopes to find the source of the snow and the zombie menace.

Expect high camp, if you haven’t figured that out already. In logic and execution. Snow Day is a pretty damn goofy treat that tickles the funny bone with an unassuming charm. Hoerauf and Baxter lend a snappy delivery to each scene which overshadows the amateur hour acting (don’t think I’m being an asshole, I get it: friends are the best actors and furthermore, they’re cheap!) and gives rise to plenty of amusing gags both familiar and inspired; during the wintry chaos look for Barbara wandering a busy parking lot looking for “Johnny.” A zombified Publisher’s Clearing House crew using an oversized check to rip out someone’s throat gets a lot of mileage in my book too. The nods don’t stop with Night of the Living Dead either, there’s an unusual Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene gag that had me dribbling Cheerios, but that was the general reaction Snow Day got from me as a whole. It’s cute. Slick. And, on occasion, stops to drop its innocent veil to reveal a wickedness that only the most depraved souls will laugh at.

A man stepping out on his front porch, wiping sleep from his eyes and off to get the morning paper who takes a brief diversion to beat the living shit out of a dazed, intruding zombie with a baseball bat is my kind of humor. And this is the kind of stuff that makes up Snow Day, Bloody Snow Day. I trust it’ll be your cup of tea as well.

Look for Snow Day to screen at the San Diego ComicCon 2005…

3 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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