For many horror fans, zombie movies have become too prevalent in the independent horror cinema landscape. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to find out that the mere mention of the subgenre makes many cringe. For whatever reason, filmmakers working with a restricted budget seem to think that their best option is to try their hand at making a film that, by it’s very definition, usually requires some sort of elaborate special effects. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Last year’s zombie film, THE BATTERY, did a great job on super-tight budget. But that is not the standard, so you can imagine how I felt when I heard that ZOMBEAVERS was going to be a real thing…
The movie, co-written and directed by Jordan Rubin, is a horror-comedy about a group of college students head to a lakeside house to party away Jenn’s (Lexi Atkins) boyfriend woes. Things first get complicated when her ex, Sam (Hutch Dano), and his friends show up unannounced and looking to get frisky. After a bunch of arguing, the group suddenly realizes that they have far bigger problems to deal with when they discover that the area is inhabited by mutated zombie beavers.
Of course, with a name like ZOMBEAVERS, that last part shouldn’t be a surprise, and to its credit, the film more than delivers on the promise of its title. The film’s human leads are obviously not the focal point, so it doesn’t matter that they aren’t particularly likable. What you’re here to see is zombie beavers killing people, and that’s what makes up the majority of the film’s 85-minute runtime.
The creature effects are all practical, from what I can tell, which adds to the fun. If they did use CGI in the film, it was likely just to enhance things, as the beavers are rather silly-looking puppets. And that’s not a shot at the film. In fact, it adds to the abundant humor in it, and it makes it more enjoyable.
That’s not to say that ZOMBEAVERS is trying to look poorly made. The editing (by Ed Marx) is tight and well-done, the performances are fine (this goes double for the nudity), and it looks good. In fact, I have almost no real complaints about the film. It gave me what I wanted and exactly what it promised. It’s not high art, but it’s fun, and that certainly counts for something.
If ZOMBEAVERS sounds appealing to you, then I definitely recommend you check it out. Chances are, you will find that it delivers what you were looking for. On the other side of the coin, folks who have no interest in a film about zombie beavers aren’t going to be converted by the movie. The math is simple; follow your instincts.