Directed by John Kalangis
Distributed by Genius Products
Zombies. Billy Zane. Bad meat. Not three things you usually hear referenced in one review, but somehow I can make it happen. I’m just good like that.
Actually, we have Johnny Kalangis to thank for putting the three together in his horror/comedy The Mad, the heartwarming story of a father and daughter re-connecting with one another in the midst of a zombie uprising caused by a local farm’s nefarious methods of making their sick cows healthy again. It’s uneven and oddly edited, but there are some laugh-out-loud funny moments in it that would have made it a good midnight movie if it hadn’t been snatched by the Weinsteins for a direct-to-DVD fate.
Zane, back in a comedic form I haven’t seen him try since Demon Knight (Zoolander notwithstanding), plays Dr. Hunt, father of Amy and victim of a road trip with his new girlfriend and Amy’s perpetually horny boyfriend. On their way to a cabin, the doctor’s new squeeze Monica (MacDonald) insists that they have to stop in a out-of-the way hick town where some sort of annual festival is going on because she wants to experience the quaintness of it all. Hunt’s not happy about it, his daughter is not happy with the entire situation, and her boyfriend just wants to get laid.
Unfortunately for them (or maybe it’s fortunate considering the effect it has on their relationship… awwww), they show up right as a batch of bad meat causes the local residents to foam at the mouth and crave the warm, sweet flesh of the living. One self-referential yet damn funny scene actually has our characters standing around discussing whether or not they’re dealing with zombies or just really sick people, though I’ll be damned if I can remember what conclusion they come to.
Father and daughter fight their way through the undead and eventually end up at the farmhouse where the outbreak originated from, only to be taken captive by the farmer’s son Johnny (Deslipper), who may or may not be Amy’s brother, because they think they’re spies from a rival farm out to steal their secrets for healthy beef. Sadly, this is where the film slows to pretty much a crawl for the last 20 minutes or so. Though there are still some pretty funny moments, the zombie threat is all but done away with for some reason, and we’re left inside this one location with not a lot going on.
Previous to that, the whole scene in the restaurant and on the way to the farm, things were moving along pretty nicely; a healthy dose of humor and gore working together that for whatever reason just couldn’t maintain momentum. The zombie attacks are all nice and bloody, with some good money shots here and there, but for me the best part was the vicious, man-eating meat patties. I don’t think you’ll need much more explanation than that, really. When was the last time you saw a hunk of meat go for someone’s face?
The biggest issue with The Mad is the pace, which is unfortunately all over the place; as for the acting (Zane is really in top comedy form here), the cinematography, the gore, it’s all top-notch. Hell, even the music is appropriate. It’s just too bad it couldn’t have gotten one more pass in the editing bay before it was completed.
In terms of special features, there’s not much to be found here. You get your basic twenty-five minute long behind-the-scenes featurette that explores everything you’d expect — scenes from the film, and cast a crew interviews, etc. Then there’s the deleted scene. Or is it more like a deleted montage? Either way it’s filler that was thankfully cut.
Though it’s not destined to be anything classic, The Mad is still a fun zombie movie that, if nothing else, is worth seeing for Billy Zane’s performance and the downright funny moments for a good portion of the flick. Just shut the ol’ brain off for a while and have a good time.
Be sure to read my chat with The Mad director Johnny Kalangis right here for more on the film!
Deleted music montage
3 1/2 out of 5
2 out of 5
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