Zombeavers is no Black Sheep

Zombeavers is currently available on instant Netflix

Zombeavers

 

Zombeavers (2014) – Rated R

A group of randy college kids partying in a woodland cabin gets a nasty surprise when a horde of ferocious zombie beavers attacks.”

I love horror movies, monster movies in particular.

I love our modern renaissance of horror and the wonderful and varied feast we have recently had (The Babadook, It Follows).

I love Black Sheep, the 2006 horror film about “An experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into blood-thirsty killers that terrorize a sprawling New Zealand farm.”

All of this led me to be very hopeful for Zombeavers.

I did not love Zombeavers.

Yes, all art has been done before but a movie has to distinguish itself from its progenitors. The only novel element of Zombeavers is that it is beavers instead of sheep. this leads to an endless string of beaver gags and double entendres, all of them sophomoric.

Most of the plot is lifted beat for beat from Black Sheep, often criminally so. The kids are trapped on a raft in a lake in a scene taken straight from Stephen King’s short story (which appeared onscreen in Creepshow 2). The biohazardous material is lost just as in Eight Legged Freaks (and many other films but the Freaks comparison is spot on). The three young ladies and three young men trapped in a cabin evokes how many films?

If you missed Black Sheep and think you just watch the Americanized version in Zombeavers, think again. Zombeavers has some fun effects work for an independent film but Black Sheep used WETA and had wonderful effects work.

The other problem with Zombeavers is that writers Jordan Rubin (who also directs), Al Kaplan, and Jon Kaplan, could not figure out how to pad the time of the movie they stole. Ultimately the decision was to make a puerile, gross-out comedy to pass the time.

Here is your comedy gold, besides the aforementioned beaver jokes: urine jokes including a dog urinating in the cabin, anal and oral sex jokes, jokes about incest, homosexuality, and rape. Obviously there has to be some skin for this so the three attractive young ladies are kept in skimpy bikinis for much of the runtime and Zoe (Cortney Palm) has a long topless scene. While a sex comedy can certainly be hilarious, Zombeavers certainly isn’t.

Yes, if you get past the lame teen comedy portions, some of Zombeavers is actually quite enjoyable. The beavers are low-rent but in a fun way.

Overall, this is a passable waste of time and doesn’t overstay its welcome at a brief 77 minutes (including end credits, gag reel, and post credits scene). Just don’t make the mistake I made and expect too much.

Happy Halloween! Watch These on Netflix

Okay, you parents are probably out tonight trick-or-treating with your young’uns. I know I will be taking my adorable granddaughter Dorothy out and about. Those without children may be attending parties, especially with it being a Friday.

Dracula Untold

For the rest of you, there are slim pickings at the theater. Since there is no new Saw movie, they are re-releasing the original for one week only. New horror movies would be Horns, Ouija, Annabelle, and Dracula Untold. Ouija and Annabelle have very bad reviews and are watered down PG-13 ratings anyway. Dracula Untold wasn’t good but was at least passably entertaining.

Netflix only has two Halloween films and they are definitely bottom of the barrel. Halloween Resurrection was based on the thought of hey, why go out on a high note with a definite ending like Halloween H20? Why not pit kung fu fighting Busta Rhymes against Michael Myers? At least the other one (Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers) gave Paul Rudd his start in films.

You're Next

Still Netflix has plenty of wonderful horror films you might have missed. Try Cabin in the Woods, You’re Next, Evil Dead 2, World War Z, American Mary, Event Horizon, and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and I doubt you will be disappointed.

How We Are What I Live Now

We Are What We Are and How I Live Now are currently available on instant Netflix.

We Are What We Are

 

We Are What We Are (2013) – Rated R

Following a family tragedy, two teenage sisters are forced by their domineering father to keep their cannibalistic clan’s macabre traditions alive.

What if we made a horror film with indie movie sensibilities? We Are What We Are is a horror movie with wonderful cinematography and an emphasis on character development. It unfolds slowly, almost gracefully and builds gradually to a very powerful conclusion.

We Are What We Are is based on a 2010 Mexican horror film of the same name. I have yet to watch the Mexican version but just a brief glimpse at a synopsis shows significant differences. The cannibalism in the U.S. version is clearly present but quite understated.

It manages to avoid most of the hoary horror tropes but does still have the person investigating who fails to tell anyone where they are going or what they are doing. Other than that all I will say is well played and let you discover this gem for yourself.

How I Live Now

 

How I Live Now (2013) – Rated R

An American girl, sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives, finds love and purpose while fighting for her survival as war envelops the world around her.”

Since this is based on the novel by Meg Rosoff, I have to assume that the writer is British. All the British kids are delightful and helpful and our protagonist, Daisy, an American, is one of the most hateful and abrasive teenagers I have ever seen on screen. The character verges on a parody of the Ugly American tourist – so much so that the first fifteen minutes of the film are almost unbearable. Daisy also has an unintelligible internal monologue.

If you stick it out, the film begins to be rewarding fairly quickly after that. The children/young adults live out in the country and so, initially, they are relatively unaffected by the outbreak of war. It doesn’t take long for them to receive a rude awakening and a few lessons in martial law.

Irritatingly, the soundtrack often overrides the background news broadcasts. Another irritation is that large swaths of the story are told in montage format. I did like that the opposing force was nameless and faceless for the most part). How I live Now is pretty decent, though not great, once you pass the quarter hour mark.