'Death of the Dead' Movie Review

Death of The Dead
Review by Michael Pickle, MoreHorror.com

One of my favorite things about writing for More Horror is the fact that I get to watch some films that I would have never normally had access to otherwise. This is almost always a good thing. Not true for this week's review of Death of the Dead.

I have never felt the need to fast forward through a movie that I was reviewing until now. Had it not been for the beautiful and talented lead, Christina Rose, I might not have resisted the urge.

I gave the film the benefit of the doubt and waited patiently until the last seconds holding out hope for something entertaining. All I got was bad jokes, bad acting, horrible zombies and even worse writing.

I have a fondness for spoofs like Airplane and Scary Movie and I love hilariously stupid films like the Troma films, but to make a stupid film entertaining it must also be clever. There is absolutely nothing clever about Death of the Dead. It seems like the only ones who could find Death of the Dead funny are the filmmakers who made it. I barely cracked a smile through this entire ill-conceived bore of a film. How can you go wrong with super hot girls (most of them nude), great locations, great equipment, great props, Zombies and a tongue in cheek attitude? They found a way. Writer Bo Buckley, Director Gary King and the guys over at Strange Stuff Productions have somehow managed to take all these great elements and pissed them away on something almost unwatchable.

Wanda (Christina Rose) is your typical ridiculously cute girl who is supposed to be the ugly school dork. This effect is achieved by putting glasses on her and having her run around awkwardly in a wardrobe consisting mostly of baggy sweat pants and karate outfits. She is picked on mercilessly by the cheerleaders, jocks and virtually everyone she comes in contact with. Even her aging pervert of a Karate instructor, Master Sensei, picks on her and ridicules her as he trains her for a big tournament.

After a long and convoluted Karate Kid spoof set-up; the guys in the rival dojo (headed by Evil Sensei) crash their bus into a couple of scientists dumping toxic chemicals and are turned into flesh eating Karate Zombies. As they infect the town; their Karate skills are curiously passed on to the infected turning everyone into zombie ninjas. Wanda and Master Sensei must save the world from the growing zombie epidemic with the help of a magic karate belt. In an exercise of predictability; Wanda loses the glasses and puts on a hot outfit to kick zombie ass in a final battle. The only remotely entertaining part of the film.

Pardon my French, but it really chaps my ass when filmmakers think they can put whatever sophomoric, unfunny drivel that comes to their heads in a movie and pass it off as comedy by calling it a spoof. They throw every old trick and even older joke at the viewer and expect us to throw our heads back and laugh hysterically.

All I ended up doing was rolling my eyes. Several times. They try their best to copy films like Airplane and Troma, but it falls almost embarrassingly flat pretty much every time. They don't seem to know what makes these types of movies work. They shamelessly copy the same classic gags and somehow make them painfully unfunny.

Things like showing the actors in an ADR recording session for no apparent reason and showing the boom operator in the middle of random shots are just confusing and poorly timed. They even directly rip-off a scene from Airplane when the Evil Sensei and his students stand in line on the bus to beat up on a nerd with various weapons in their hands. Think less Scary Movie and more Disaster Movie or Date Movie.

In a particularly eye-roll worthy scene; Wanda mutilates a zombie and delivers a bad one-liner before walking away. The zombie lies there in half and tells her what a bad one-liner that was and suggests a better line. Something I felt like doing for almost every line in the movie. Calling attention to cliches isn't as affective if you constantly lean on those cliches as a poor attempt at comedy. All of this might have been forgiven had they, at least, had some decent zombies. Unfortunately, these high flying flesh eaters don't even remotely look like zombies. They hold normal conversations and the only way you know they are zombies is a little dead guy gray make-up on their face and a few sores here and there.

I can't very well discuss the many things that didn't work about Death of the Dead without mentioning the few things that did. Christina Rose is a diamond in the rough that is this film. Even through the bad dialogue and bad bumbling dork routine I couldn't take my eyes off of her. She looks good, she can fight and would probably act much better if she had better material to work with. She was so good, in fact, that she made some of the lame jokes actually work. Not an easy task.

The film also looks really good. It was filmed well, for the most part, and it's almost depressing considering what they could have done with a decent script. Also, for the lowest common denominator out there; there are naked girls kissing in the first few minutes. If that's what you are looking for then you won't be disappointed, but don't look for much else besides a kick ass leading lady.

There is enough hot girls and campy gore effects for this to have an audience, but if you're looking for a decent spoof you're not likely to be in on the joke.

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