Plot: Horror comedy about single woman Deb, as the zombie apocalypse hits her quiet town of Portland.
Cast/Crew: Directed and written by Kyle Rankin, starring Maria Thayer (Wyoma in Forgetting Sarah Marshall) as Deb, and Michael Cassidy aka Zach on The O.C. (don’t call it that) as Ryan, the one night stand.
Thoughts on the film:
• I’ve decided to go through the film beat by beat rather than just thoughts, lemme know if this better/worse!
• Introduced to quirky/unlucky in love Deb and her bestie Julie at a bar, as Deb awkwardly flirts with Ryan, a man openly having a row with his fiancé. It immediately scores points with an Arrested Development reference, as gorgeous fiancé Stacy shouts “SAY GOODBYE TO THESE!”!
• She wakes up at Ryan’s place (trying to stay as he’s ushering her out) and they find the town now populated with the undead. A horror comedy in a suburban zombie apocalypse? The iconic Shaun of the Dead is the immediate comparison. It’s like a heavily-inspired American version, with a light-hearted tone as Deb cracks jokes despite seeing zombie murders; and not taking it too seriously, marking out with “that was awesome” after killing Miss Jones. Fourth wall breaking as Deb considers the type of zombie (“ah the slow ones that look like they have CP”).
• Awesome visual gag, someone’s written “Your all gonna die” on a wall, and someone in red spray-paint has corrected the grammar. A+ (1:01:03)
• They’re inconsistent zombies (as is their nature!) They in general want to eat you, but the coffee shop owner slams Ryan on a table (as opposed to trying to eat him first). They also eat ‘dead’ zombies which I found odd.
• Threads a very thin line between wise-cracking protagonist and annoying desperate unmarried woman. The zany suburban white woman shouts “Don’t touch a black man’s radio!”. X-Pac heat there! The progression of her character goes from initially being quite grating/overbearingly “I’M FUNNY” to becoming more relaxed/affable/”steady girlfriend material” by the end.
• After seeing Ryan has nothing in his house, they decide to go to his rich dad’s estate. Ryan’s character starts out as a guy-bimbo with aspirations towards helping the environment, and the main two have trouble connecting on a personal level. It’s hilarious that his brother Chaz is a sarcastic layabout, and immediately bonds with Deb over insulting Ryan. It’s quite funny.
• Indoors we get the exposition. What caused the outbreak? It’s a parasite-borne virus in the city water, as his dad’s boss demanded they open a treatment centre that wasn’t ready yet. This “Ichabod virus” refers to the real-life 30,000 year old virus first found a decade ago and ‘brought to life’ in 2014 (ie when the film was being written).
• Why isn’t anyone coming to help? Internet’s down, it’s a very small town, and a private security company has blocked the roads. What this means is the film’s shot in empty roads/buildings and sprinkle some zombies in there.
• Ryan’s (smoking hot) fiancé is also at the estate, and tries to seduce Ryan after their big fight (but he’s interested in Deb now), so she dresses in lingerie and starts bouncing/screaming on the bed, causing Deb to leave in the middle of the night.
• Deb is detained at the Army Checkpoint. The bumbling boss has some funny lines “They say shooting a gun is like an organ. That’s why it must be harder for women to..” *gets cut off*
• The estate is overrun and Ryan & his dad end up at the check point too. When the Army are exposed as heels, Deb & Ryan decide to head to the TV station to broadcast a plight for help.
• Ugly duckling gimmick: They actually do a decent job of the typical uglifying the geeky girl so she can reveal herself as gorgeous later on. Deb looks amazing in a coctail dress.
• The distress broadcast goes viral (somehow) and it cuts to a montage of selfie reaction YouTube videos, which HAVE TO be kickstarter perks for the highest backers! (I checked it out, yes.)
• Super happy finish, bucking the usual rules of zombies, that you can’t turn via zombie bite. Chaz exclaims “We’re alive and under arrest!” (shows handcuffs) and we’re out.
Overall: An easy watch but Deb isn’t as charming as the film hoped it’d be. Night of the Living Deb makes for a great last-movie-of-the-night horror festival movie. Can’t recommend but it’s good to see kickstarter horror films being made.