Dead & Breakfast (2004)
Starring Jeremy (May) Sisto, Brent David (Dark Side of Genius) Fraser, David (Kill Bill) Carradine, Gina (Jeepers Creepers) Phillips, Oz (Secretary) Perkins
Directed by Matthew Leutwyler
I'll be honest, Ryan first reported on Dead & Breakfast many moons ago, and for some reason it was one of those movies I kind of left up to him when it came to following the status of the production. So when the movie showed up at my door for me to review, needless to say I was pretty goddamn surprised.
Dead & Breakfast tells the tale of six people on their way to a friend's wedding in Galveston. When they realize they're lost they decide to hunker down for the night in a town called Lovelock, a quiet place with a singing gas station attendant and a very strange personality.
They're directed to the Bed and Breakfast in town, and their host Mr. Wise (Carradine) shows them their rooms without the usual "creepy host of a small town bed and breakfast" one would assume. Sara (Ever Carradine, niece of the other Carradine) finds Mr. Wise praying in front of a strange box that he tells her is believed by some religions to give the owner of it good fortune. Unfortunately he doesn't tell her what might happened if it's opened, but a drifter (Fraser) tells them the box must never be touched.
The next day, the French cook (played by Diedrich Bader of "The Drew Carey Show" and Office Space fame) is a dead & bloody mess, and Mr. Wise is dead of a heart attack. The local sheriff tells the kids none of them are allowed to leave Lovelock for any reason until the killer is found, so they have to go into town to let their friend know they won't be making the wedding. The geek of the group, Johnny (Perkins) has to get back into the house alone and ends up opening Mr. Wises' box, and all hell breaks loose.
Johnny becomes possessed and starts on a killing spree, taking pieces of anyone he kills and adding them to the box, turning them into mindless killing machines immediately. Pretty soon you've got an entire town (luckily only about 20 or so people) possessed by an ancient evil, and only a few normal people left to fend them off from inside the B and B.
Let's take a moment here and talk about the cast. So many potentially good ideas in all kinds of film, but horror in particular, can be ruined by bad casting choices. Such is not the case with Dead & Breakfast; the cast is actually what helps make it so damn good. Jeremy Sisto, David Carradine, Gina Phillips, and Bianca Lawson (Kendra the Vampire Slayer from "Buffy") are some of the names you might recognize, but everyone that fills these roles did a great job getting the humor and horror mixed just right, a very refreshing change from some of the stuff I've seen that tries to mix the two.
This is a movie that I think might split fans right down the middle, to be honest, and a lot of that has to do with the songs. I'm not talking about some rock soundtrack done by up-and coming bands, here, I'm talking one guy, with a guitar, singing musical interludes interspersed at certain points of the film. Why is he there, you may ask yourself? 'Cause its funny, damnit! It doesn't hurt that the singer/songwriter, Zach Selwyn, is talented at both singing and songwriting. You can check out an example of the songs on the official Dead & Breakfast site, but it really works so much better in context of the movie. You would think something like that would get pretty tiresome after the first few times, but just try watching the "Coming to Kill Ya" scene and not get that damn song stuck in your head.
I did have some issues with the end, since the film just stops suddenly without much in the way of a climax, but that can be excused when you look at the events preceding it. Lots of fun, lots of good gore (some very Dead Alive moments here and there) and an evil origin that you're not likely to ever figure out before our handsome drifter lays it down for us, combine to make Dead & Breakfast a movie that's sure to attain some type of cult status with us horror fans get it. I think, really, that's what it's all about; getting it. If you're looking for straight-up serious horror, try elsewhere. If you're in the mood for zombie splatter fest filled with cool rockabilly tunes, Dead & Breakfast is where you need to end up.
Be sure to check out their official site right here.
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