FrightFest 2019: EAT, BRAINS, LOVE Review – Zombie Comedy At Its Finest
Starring Jake Cannavale, Angelique Rivera, Sarah Yarkin, Jim Titus, Kristin Daniel, Ty Headlee
Written by Mike Herro, David Strauss
Directed by Rodman Flender
Comparisons to Warm Bodies are probably inevitable but Eat, Brains, Love still stands on its own two rotting feet as one of the funniest and most memorable teenage zombie movies we’ve seen in years. It even has a pretty neat reference to Cannibal Holocaust, if that’s what you’re into.
Jake (played by Jake Cannavale) is your typical high school loser who would rather slack off and smoke weed than work towards a decent future. He’s also madly in love with classmate Amanda (Angelique Rivera), even though she’s way out of his league, and he’s the main victim of a bully who loves flushing his head down the toilet. However, Jake’s mundane life is suddenly turned upside down when he and Amanda are suddenly turned into flesh-eating zombies during their school lunch period, with their fellow classmates being on the menu.
Because the government doesn’t want the public knowing about the existence of zombies, they blame the massacre at the aptly named Dick Cheney High on a school shooting, with a character sadly lamenting how such occurrences are now simply a part of life in the US. This may be a silly romantic zombie movie, but that doesn’t mean Eat, Brains, Love can’t touch on serious issues, albeit with a satirical edge.
After turning into zombies, Jake and Amanda then proceed to flee across the country, with a zombie task force headed by psychic Cass (Sarah Yarkin), in hot pursuit. Although her mission is to eliminate them both, Cass soon starts to develop a fondness for Jake as she learns more about him, leading her to lie to her superior when he asks if she knows where he is. Cass also happens to look like Ripley in Aliens, something which she apparently does not like being reminded of.
Things are pretty straightforward from this point. While Jake and Amanda are traveling across the country and using the sex offender registry to find their meals, Cass soon learns that the government organisation she works for is planning to weaponise the living dead, leading her to predictably change sides and join Jake and Amanda. Most viewers would have seen this coming a mile away, but it was still nice for a film to actually have a trio of likable protagonists for a change.
With a runtime of just 87 minutes, Eat, Brains, Love feels a little too ambitious for its own good at times, with the director even saying during the Q&A after the screening that the limited budget did not fully allow him to include the large scale action sequences from the source novel. The ending also clearly leaves the door open for a sequel (the film only covers a portion of the book), and most viewers would probably say yes to going on another road trip with Jake, Amanda, and Cass.
It probably won’t win over viewers who are truly sick to death of zombie movies, but Eat, Brains, Love at least tries to stand out from the countless other zombie films released over the last few years, with a sly satirical edge thrown in for good measure. And we have to commend it for that.