Anyone familiar with cult Television will know that “Dance of the Dead” is an episode of the seminal series “the Prisoner”. This is not that episode. What it is, is a highly entertaining and very very funny zombie comedy from the pen of Joe Ballarini and directed by Gregg Bishop. Opening with the American cliché of the high school prom, it follows the adventures of a group of awkward teenage outcasts, none of whom appear to be able to get a date and who have to work together to save themselves and the other members of the school when a graveyard near to the school and coincidentally, next to that old stock favourite, a power plant, suddenly disgorges an army of zombies from it’s grounds.
With a cast composed largely of unknowns, this is clearly a low budget piece but is skilfully handled. It’s a bit like a lower budget version of “Shaun of the dead” which is praise indeed! It manages this by having a great script in place form the start, one with lots of unexpected twists and genuinely funny moments, some of them extremely gruesome as you would expect from a flick of this genre. There are some wonderful set pieces such as when two of the characters who have fallen in love become zombies, then continue kissing before deciding to eat each other.
The actors, though unknown, are well cast and believable in their roles as a bunch of largely fresh faced innocents and geeks with Jared Kusnitz, Greyson Chadwick and Mark Oliver all giving tremendous performances, just right for the oddball material. The gory effects sequences are well done considering the movie’s budget and are frequently funny in themselves and it manages the clever trick of making the audience actually care about the characters, despite being clearly more comedy that drama oriented. Well plotted, it moves along at a good pace and every time it seems like it might be slowing down, there’s a great one liner or visual gag to keep you watching. All in all a really entertaining film, completely unpretentious and knowing exactly what it is setting out to achieve which is to give the audience a good time. A great comedy to unwind with, especially for fans of the zombie genre.
Director: Gregg Bishop
Writer: Joe Ballarini
Stars: Jared Kusnitz, Greyson Chadwick and Chandler Darby
Release Date: 2008