Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Jared Kusnitz, Chandler Darby, Greyson Chadwick, Justin Welborn, Carissa Capobianco
Directed by Gregg Bishop
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Since the dead first started shambling their way to stardom in the 1968 George A. Romero classic Night of the Living Dead, they’ve gone on to do some great things such as fighting sharks underwater in Italy, getting red on all of the UK, and partying with 45 Grave right here in the States. Finally, after all this time they’re getting to experience their right of passage into adulthood by having their very own prom. Sound like a good time? You betcha! Gregg Bishop’s latest zombedy Dance of the Dead is rife with everything we could want in a living dead flick — great characters, good-looking zombies, and tons of gore! Right on!
The teens of Cosa High should be very familiar to you as there are the usual sects one would expect. We have the jocks, the nerds, the sci-fi geeks, the cheerleaders, and of course the bad boys. Usually these groups just barely co-exist, but this prom night is going to be one in which they’re going to have to band together if they want to survive. You see there’s a nuclear power plant working overtime in their little town, and all that extraneous radiation has just re-animated every corpse in the local cemetery. They’re hungry … They’re murderous … And they’re heading to the big shindig, which for these flesh-eaters will be akin to a smorgasbord! Can our teens put aside their social standings long enough to work together to send these fiends back to their crypts?
I’ll be the first to admit I usually loathe comedy mixed in with my horror. Yes, I understand the two go hand-in-hand, but for me jokes can taint the recipe. That is unless the big bads play it straight and the humor comes from the would-be victims on the menu. That’s exactly the scenario here as Gregg Bishop perfectly balances the laugh gags with scenes that are designed to make you gag. The blood flows freely in this flick from beginning to end. Bodies are torn, limbs are severed, heads go flying; I was smiling from ear to ear.
It’s not just the gore that sells Dance of the Dead either. You’ll end up giving a shit about these characters, too, and that makes the sense of peril all the more viable. I was kind of sad to see some of them get chomped. Well, only for a second or two, but still! Even better, Bishop has taken a unique approach to casting this film by finding actors who are the right age. There are no out-of-place twenty-somethings to be found here to distract you from the goings-on. These kids are dead on in terms of age, and they can actually act. Whodda thunk it?!?
Even from a supplemental standpoint this is quite the package! Things kick off with a lively commentary by Gregg Bishop and writer Joe Ballarini that will keep you laughing while delivering the behind-the-scenes stories we listen to these tracks for. From there we get a twenty-three-minute making-of featurette that traces the ten-year long history of this film from conception to fruition, a great look at the flick’s stunts and effects, several deleted scenes with optional commentary by Bishop, and finally Gregg’s short film Voodoo, which isn’t exactly your standard tale of revenge. Tack on the trailer, and we’re done. Really good stuff for a really good movie.
Don’t let the over-saturation of zombie flicks we’ve gotten recently stop you from diggin’ on this fiendishly fun experience. This is The Return of the Living Dead for the ’00 generation, and just like their 1985 zombie ilk, these dead are back from the grave and ready to party! This is one prom night you should have no reservations about watching!
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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