There’s nothing like a zombie comedy double feature that goes right, especially when both movies are generally very different in sub-subgenre. I’m talking about rom-zom-com Night of the Living Deb and action zombedy buddy movie Overtime. They do have something in common, though – both charming duos battle their way through flesh eaters to arrive at a happy ending!
This action buddy movie puts a twist on the From Dusk Till Dawn structure, because our two bad boys are actually sort of good boys. Real life wrestler Al Snow (Camp Massacre, Lake Eerie, Terror House, The Haunting of Alice D., Piranha Sharks, The Penny Dreadful Show, Hell House) and John Wells (The Penny Dreadful Show, Piranha Sharks) play a pair of very unique hit men – they kill off sleazy criminals who have been proven innocent in court.
It seems to be just another day on the job when Snow’s wife pressures him to make their son’s birthday perfect without allowing his job to get in the way. As the partners set off on their next hit – and to get the son a gift and birthday cake – the movie nails the feel of 80s buddy movies like 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon. In fact, Overtime captures that tone so well that it brought me to an eye-opening realization. The buddy movies of that era were actually a tad precious, with the banter between the partners being oddly cute for an action flick!
As in From Dusk Till Dawn, this action movie suddenly collides with a horror movie! The guys become trapped in a building with a bunch of scientists and a whole lot of zombies.
There’s plenty of running, shooting, zombie slaying, and zombies biting, but just be warned. Perhaps it’s for affect, to disguise the low budget, or a little of both, but while the zombies are cool and gnarly, most of the action is a chaotic blur of dark lighting and shaky cam.
In fact, I think the middle of the movie is pretty average for a zombie film, and much of the comedy falls by the wayside. That could be in part because our two stars get split up! Once they come back together, they’ve got a couple of babes with them, and together, the foursome brings on comic fun that I wish had been sustained throughout the film, but totally saves the final act.
The icing on the cake is a) they manage to score a birthday cake throughout the chaos, b) the guys’ reaction to getting out of the building before it blows up is fucking hilarious…
and c) before they head off to the son’s birthday party, they hose each other down at a car wash!
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB (2015)
It’s not every day we get a zombie chick flick, but if you’re a horror comedy fan who also loves quirky, comic modern girl characters in TV shows and movies like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Mindy Project, Pitch Perfect, and Trainwreck, then Night of the Living Deb will probably become an instant fave for you as it did for me.
During the Fourth of July holiday, aspiring reporter Deb (adorable Maria Thayer, who has actually appeared on The Mindy Project) has a drunken hook-up with an engaged guy (cutie pie Michael Cassidy, who has managed to play both Lex Luthor’s brother and Jimmy Olsen in the Superman universe!). When their hangovers wear off, they discover that there has been a zombie apocalypse.
That’s the charm of Night of the Living Deb. Deb is immediately aware that this is a zombie apocalypse and takes all the necessary actions, while her new guy acquaintance is initially appalled at her actions. Their chemistry is perfect as comic situations ensue and pop culture references fly. Sure there’s some romance, but there’s also plenty of zombie splattering and even some gut munching.
On top of that, horror icon Ray Wise plays Cassidy’s dad, and Chris Marquette (Freddy vs. Jason, Joan of Arcadia) plays his brother. It’s lighthearted fun from start to finish and makes a perfect party movie.