Starring Ellah Durliat, Susan O’Gara, Kyle Porter, and Joel D. Wynkoop
Directed by Lynne Hansen
As far as the eye can see, nothing but zombies. The undead are everywhere, infesting movies, television shows, and comic books in a seemingly never-ending quest for world domination. As the market saturation reaches an all-time high, it’s often difficult for writers and directors to find a story that hasn’t been told countless times by others eager to dip their toes into these busy waters. When someone does find a new angle, it’s enough for even the most faded zombie fan to stand up and take notice.
Enter writer/director Lynne Hansen’s ridiculously enjoyable horror comedy Chomp, a short film that takes a unique approach to the zombie apocalypse. Instead of dealing with endless waves of reanimated corpses, we’re given one — at least that’s what Millie (delightfully portrayed by Susan O’Gara) believes. Unfortunately for Kyle Frost (Kyle Porter), this is simply a case of mistaken identity.
Kyle, dressed as a zombie for a Halloween party, finds himself on Millie’s property after downing one too many alcoholic beverages. Thinking that she’s stumbled across the world’s first zombie, she chains the poor guy in her garage and prepares for the worldwide attention her discovery will no doubt bring. Unfortunately for Kyle, she’s missed the mark entirely, and there’s no convincing her that this prisoner is actually a living human being. What follows is funny and a little gross.
Chomp is a fantastic short film, and not just because it’s tackling a tale we haven’t seen before. Hansen’s script is top-notch, and she packs a surprising amount of content into its slim runtime. What’s more, she’s found a handful of genuinely talented actors to bring this story to life. And while Porter does a fine job as the tale’s hapless “zombie,” it’s Susan O’Gara who steals the show. She’s spot-on as Millie, and the unbridled happiness she experiences after finding her unexpected guest is infectious. Things take a dark turn here and there, but I found it hard not to like Millie.
Cult legend Joel D. Wynkoop also makes an appearance in Chomp as Dr. Jon Croft, a talk show host who really hates the living dead. Since Millie is convinced she has the world’s first real zombie, she’s hoping to parlay this discovery into an appearance on Croft’s program. Wynkoop is fantastic as usual, and I’m not ashamed to say my opinion is probably influenced greatly by my adoration for the guy.
It’s hard to find any major faults with Lynne Hansen’s Chomp. The 12-minute short is a delightfully breezy and wholly enjoyable cinematic romp with enough blood and guts to satisfy hardcore fans. And while I was certainly left wanting more (never a bad thing, in my opinion), stretching this into a feature-length film may ultimately ruin its charm. No, Chomp is precisely the length it needs to be, and I certainly hope it continues to delight festival-goers who may find themselves rolling their eyes at the thought of yet another zombie movie. Hansen has seemingly done the impossible: She’s breathed new life into a subgenre that should, in theory, have already shambled off into the distance.