Editor’s note: Zombeavers is distributed by Epic Pictures Group, who are directly affiliated with Dread Central. They did not ask for this article nor were they aware of it prior to it being posted. To be 200% honest, this is all Matt Donato finding another great horror gem to get drunk to!
Once SYFY struck Sharknado gold and began wordplay-splicing random animals together with weather disasters, hybrid genre mashups became the subgenre rage. Spoiler alert: most sucked. Including Sharknado. One does not simply force B-movie infamy into existence with an attention-grabbing title – unless you’re Zombeavers. Jordan Rubin’s don’t-give-a-dam midnighter offers far more than empty promises of undead lakeshore rodents. Bucktoothed puppetry, infection metamorphoses, and full-bore committal to the Zombeavers brand? Welcome to one of my favorite horror comedies of 2014. Let’s get those rudder tails thwaping with this month’s radioactive Drinking With The Dread.
It all begins with John Mayer (yeah, Mr. Your Body Is A Wonderland) and Bill Burr as chemical waste truckers whose roadkill accident sends one of their cargo canisters hurtling into a nearby river. The steel drum floats peacefully until bashing into a twiggy beaver dam. Upon impact, lime-green contaminants start spewing everywhere. Cue a local family of beavers transforming into zombie mammals who threaten any living creature they encounter – including vacation-happy sorority sisters Mary (Rachel Melvin), Zoe (Cortney Palm), and Jenn (Lexi Atkins).
One should expect generic “woodland isolation” setups as Zombeavers chews through Act I. Jenn’s heartbreak turns confrontational when boyfriends (and one ex) crash gal week (Jake Weary the jock, Peter Gilroy the stoner, Hutch Dano the cheater), cell service doesn’t exist, Rex Linn plays a standoffish hermit hunter – writers Al and Jon Kaplan, along with Rubin, lean heavy as an elk into standard subgenre norms because you’re here for tree-gnawing walkers – err…hoppers? If there’s dialogue uttered before zombeavers attack, it’ll 1,000% include the words “dick,” “sex,” or “shit.” If there’s a bad decision to make, these hottie horndogs’ll make it. Rubin’s (presumably) watched his fair share of seedy low-budget slashers, and this is his homage.
So why is this hungry critters chomp-em-up getting Drinking With The Dread treatment? Zombeavers isn’t just your “average” zombie beavers summer fling. Rubin pushes a towering stack of chips all-in on hybrid subgenre amplification – werewolf-slasher-outbreak territory – all while owning “bargain bin” vibes. As Jenn fights against a very plushy zombeaver attacker, monster comedics reach above-and-beyond. Beaver puns pepper eye-roller laughs into conversations. Zombeavers could easily be renamed Curse Of The Werebeavers, or When Zombie Wildlife Attacks as the film’s scope broadens with blood splattered glee. Awareness never a question.
Zombeavers is lightning in a bottle, and admittedly, works *far* more effectively than my presumptions would allow me to anticipate. Doors swing open to reveal leathery-tailed beavers howling with Sesame Street: Patient Zero ferocity. Peter Gilroy and Cortney Palm valiantly sell sexcapades weekend intoxication as well as they do doomsday damnation. Everything is thought of here. Zombeaver claws cut phone lines. Zombeaver hunters swim around their prey like motorized boat props. Rubin doesn’t even waste time revealing beaver dummies, teasing camptacular cabin-defense mayhem from the getgo. Nothing to hide, everything to show.
Super cheesy animatronic “zombeavers” devotion stays practical throughout. Mega cheesy dialogue and performances ooze satirical melodrama in a time of wood-eating party crashers. One of the CHEESIEST attacks against remixed horror titles skips right over Zombees and goes straight for cinema’s zaniest titular in-gag. Zom-freakin’-beavers. Genius, I tell you. Pure maniacal genius.
Highlight moments include but are not limited to:
- Nick Amado’s lounge-swing Zombeavers theme song.
- Scooby Doo style opening credits animation.
- I mean, zombie beavers!
- “We cannot turn against each other right now. That’s exactly what the beavers would want.”
- The first moment you realize zombeaver transformations are going to be a thing.
- From the producers of American Pie, Cabin Fever and The Ring and it feels like it.
- Every stupid-as-hell interwoven beaver pun.
- Honestly, Buck. Annoying to some, a hero to others.
- John Mayer’s mustache.
- Special effects work!
- Wait, other animals zombify?!
Time to dive on in! The water’s fine, don’t mind the bites and scratches. Here are this month’s Drinking With The Dread rules for Zombeavers.
- Drink whenever an animal appears on screen (up to you how many times if there are multiple).
- Drink for every beaver pun.
- Drink every time characters begin to discuss sex/have sex.
- Drink whenever you hear the thumping of a beaver’s tail (when it starts, not every single one ya savages).
- Drink TWICE for every character death/transformation.
- Drink TWICE whenever someone complains about their phone not working.
- TAKE A SHOT WHEN – screw it, spoiler alert – take a shot to honor the bear-zombie-beaver amalgamation presented by Zombeavers.
If I may, a toast. Here’s to creators who don’t take “No” for an answer, defy the laws of scientific biotoxin mutations, and play in a sandbox without rules. Three cheers for zombies, beavers, werebeasts, and the unholy trinity of zombeaver humans created on-screen. Jordan Rubin, Kaplans, thank you for making my most unexpected B-movie summer horror fantasies come true – now let me return the favor by soaking them in alcohol. Drinking With The Dread and Zombeavers were made for each other like slightly racist townies sitting on their porches and lukewarm cans of PBR. May fur and froth fly next time you’re in the mood for a boozy movie experience!