Night of the Living Deb, 2015. Directed by Kyle Ranklin. Written by Andy Selsor. Starring Maria Thayer, Michael Cassidy, Ray Wise, Chris Marquette.
So, I was at the library earlier today picking up some DVDs and I saw this film. Generally, I enjoy a good zombie film (or TV show, seriously, check out iZombie) but it’s a genre that has been a little oversaturated in the last several years. But in the spirit of the month and the comparison to Shaun of the Dead, I figured that I’d give it a chance.
The main character, Deb, is a Kimmy Schmidt like awkward ray of sunshine, but in a more indie film mold than a sit-com mold. She is an endearing form of awkward, obviously attractive, but insecure and very real. She is out at the bar with her friend on July 3rd and is encouraged to approach a man, Ryan, who is in the middle of his own drama. She wakes up the next morning in his bed with very little memory of what happened, but really hoping (in a very awkward way) that it was the start of something great, meanwhile he’s trying to figure out how to gently get her to leave so that he can get on with his day. We spend a lot of time on this painfully awkward interaction and separation as they head out into their respective plan for the Fourth of July, and discover that the Maine town they live in is now inexplicably overrun by zombies.
This flick finds some very playful ways to explain and detail this version of the zombie apocalypse. This is a delightful indie film (money was raised by Kickstarter and directed by Rankin, who was selected for the first season of Project Greenlight, way back in the day, which was 2002, for The Battle of Shaker Heights). Ray Wise, who has worked on all of Rankin’s films, plays all the levels of his character, obviously up to no good but always in a very interesting and entertaining way. The characters keep stopping to deal with all of the stuff that they are dealing with, but always in a way that you don’t quite expect.
This film sits very much on the comedy side of things, which was great. Zombies and the ensuing attempted coverup is just a thing that is happening, and even though the characters go through all of the necessary steps that you’d expect in a zombie horror flick, it’s delightful and aware. It lets itself get weird a lot and stayed very fun throughout. The banter is fun and conclusion satisfying.
More later …