Wednesday, 18 March 2015


Sometimes a title does all the work, doesn't it?
Zombeavers is one such title.
After hearing about this one it's become something of an obsession of mine. Alas, the UK release date came and went and I could see no reason to push through my review when other, more time sensitive, flicks could benefit from the coverage.
And then I saw that Zombeavers would get a US release this Friday. That was the kick up the behind I needed to sit down and get this done.
But could it possibly match the potential of that title? Or would it fall into the 'dam' shame category?
Read on…


Dir: Jordan Rubin
Starring: Rachel Melvin, Cortney Palm, Lexi Atkins, Hutch Dano, Jake Weary, Peter Gilroy, Rex Linn, Bill Burr, John Mayer

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not spoil too much here but read on at your own risk.

The film opens with a pair of hilarious truckers (Burr and Mayer) talking as they drive several barrels of ominous looking waste to an undisclosed location. After an accident in which the clueless pair hit a deer, one of the barrels become dislodged and falls into the river, following it downstream until it hits a beaver dam, whereupon it springs a leak.
Meanwhile, after finding proof that suggests her boyfriend may be cheating on her, Jenn (Atkins) heads to a remote lakeside cabin with her galpals sweet Mary (Melvin) and outrageous Zoe (Palm). They decide to enjoy some sun and swimming, donning bikinis and getting back to nature. They notice a nearby beaver dam and after investigating, have a hair-raising run-in with a bear. Luckily grizzly hunter Smyth (Linn) is on hand to scare it away from the ladies, even if his attitude towards their attire is a little old-fashioned. Smyth warns the girls to stay away from the beavers before disappearing back into the woodland.
That evening they are surprised by their boyfriends, lunkish Buck (Gilroy), decent Tommy (Weary) and Jenn’s cheating man Sam (Dano). Mary eventually acquiesces and lets the boys come in to stay with them, after Jenn says it's ok. The couples soon pair off and do what couples do (ahem) while Jenn confronts Sam over a photo that shows him with a mystery brunette. However, as she attempts to take a shower she is attacked by a fierce and decidedly undead looking beaver — but thankfully Tommy is on hand to kill it with a baseball bat. Or does he?
The following day the group swim out to the raft on the lake, where the truth is revealed — the mystery brunette with Sam was Mary! However, before much can be said the zombeavers strike again… this time drawing blood.
Who will survive the ensuing carnage? Will Jenn discover the truth about Sam? How exactly does Buck 'feel like a Power Ranger'? And what happens if you receive a zombeaver bite?

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): Oh. My. God.
I often talk about how a film has all the right qualities to become a 'cult movie'… and never have I seen them so strongly present as here in Zombeavers.
First, it is absolutely bloody hilarious. I lost track of the number of laugh-out-loud hilarious lines I heard during its runtime, and (perhaps more surprisingly) very few of them relied on the obvious smutty pun use of the term 'beaver' — even if there is one truly epic 'Goddamn hairy beavers!'
Seriously, I cannot think of as quotable a movie from the last five years — Zombeavers delivers a deluge of witty, goofy and smart-arsed soundbites by the minute. I'd love to share some of the gems that you can look forward to but I don't want to be that guy. Instead, take my word that you have some real comedy gold in store. Credit must go to Rubin and his co-writers Al Kaplan and Jon Kaplan for their work here, as well as the loving nods to genre flicks of yesteryear. Well done, fellas!
As well as dialogue which has to be heard to be believed, there are some wonderful visual gags. I was particularly fond of the bizarre 'whack-a-molebeaver' scene!
The humour was helped no end by the quality of the cast. Everybody played it just right, layering just the right amount of camp hamminess with straight-faced sincerity to make it work. The most out-there performances would be Gilroy's broad turn as Buck, Linn's redneck Smyth and the truckers. Yet, these were my favourite characters! 
The truckers (as played in little more than an extended cameo by singer/songwriter John Mayer and comedian Bill Burr) were absolutely incredible and had me laughing pretty much the entire time they were onscreen. They deserve their own spin-off or at least an extended role in a sequel. The post credits scene suggest one way in which this could go, although director Rubin has himself suggested that the sequel could be entitled ZombeyoncĂ©.
I suspect this may be a joke…
Gilroy is very funny indeed, his dialogue during a sex-scene is sure to become a running joke with my pals. Among a core group that played it (pretty much) straight, his out-and-out levity provided a nice contrast.
Linn was also wonderful, adding some gravitas but also using his gruff character (and the conventions of this sort of role) to bring some surprising but always well-timed laughs to his no-nonsense asskicking.
These weren't the only good performances by any stretch. I thought Weary did a great job with what he had and, as well as looking great in bikinis, the ladies proved they can act too. Palm was great fun and gave her character some much-needed edge while Atkins showed some real nuance in her performance. I'd love to see her return to the genre, she has serious scream queen chops.
Melvin was excellent, arguably the best performer in the movie, she made for a likeable and interesting character with plenty of great moments, especially later on in the film. She's definitely one to watch.
Finally I thought Dano was a riot as the resident dick of the group. He played a self-serving tool, yet somehow he remained a character you couldn't help but get behind, even if you couldn't wait to see him get his inevitable, beaver-tooth comeuppance. 
Another one of Zombeavers' biggest strengths is the way in which those bloody bite scenes come to life. Going for a splatterstick approach a la The Evil Dead 2, there's plenty of blood and guts on display to keep things spicy should the dialogue or bare flesh not keep your interest. The practical effects are all pretty awesome, and this includes the titular Zombeavers. The creature puppets are like something out of a Jim Henson nightmare, and with their slathering maws and eerie, milky eyes, they make for a great movie monster.
That isn't the only part of the movie that looks great either — it would be easy to assume that this is a low-budget, low-polish flick, but it actually looks and sounds like it has had a fair bit of time and money spent on it. With some assured direction from the obviously very talented Rubin, a decent editing job by Ed Marx and some great cinematography by Jonathan Hall, this feels like it's a real step up from the Asylum/Syfy fare you may be tempted to lump it in with.
Finally… Nick Amado’s end credits theme. 
Ho. Lee. Shit. 
It has to leap straight into my top three Lounge crooner-style horror themes of all time. You need to stick around after the hilarious gag reel (featuring even more top-drawer, side-splitting improv by Burr and Mayer) to check this out in all its easy-listening glory. Marvellous.

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): ln a lot of ways, a film like Zombeavers is immune to critique. It is a self-aware, knowing parody of creature run amok/zombie flicks and willingly embraces those genres' tropes and DELIBERATELY pushes beyond them.
Unrealistic scenes, dialogue and character reactions are par for the course and, damn it (dam it?) Zombeavers makes them as sidesplittingly awful as it can.
This is great if you're down with the joke, less so if you aren't.
In short, does a film called Zombeavers make you want to watch it or does it just seem bloody stupid? If your answer is the latter, well, I very much doubt that the movie will do much to change your mind. This is a film in which mutated, super-resilient ferocious beavers co-ordinate their tree gnawing efforts to bring them crashing down with near military precision on victims. If that doesn't get you onside, move along.
I know I praised the effects earlier, but I feel I should clarify here — they really are very hokey. A couple (ok, a lot) of the zombeaver scenes are not even remotely convincing. I found that added to the flick's b-movie charm, but if you're the type that doesn't enjoy the brain-in-neutral likes of Sharknado, you won't dig pretty young things pretending to be terrified of oversized sock puppets. I suspect this is because you have no soul.
Yet while I loved the practical effects, the same cannot be said of a couple of decidedly sub-par cg shots. Not cool, guys.
Also, while I liked the characters, I'm not sure everybody was given their moment to shine. This was a very talented cast but the sheer number of ideas shoved into the film (including one particularly fantastic plot development re: beaver bites that I refuse to spoil here) meant there wasn't much room for all 
Also, I feel the film missed the trick a little. It clearly has some decidedly feminist sensibilities and earlier on in particular feels like this is the way it's going to go, particularly when the frankly imbecilic or sleazy gentlemen turn up. And, to a degree, the ending kind of backs that up. But along the way the feminist agenda seems to get lost, replaced instead with macho men and mucho bikini clad shrieking. It's a shame, as I would have loved to see the gals start to kick undead mutant beaver butt.Then again the poster and dvd artwork should really serve as clue enough that this isn't how the flick will unfold. Perhaps I'm looking for a little too much depth in a movie called Zombeavers?

THE VERDICT: Zombeavers might be the most ridiculous film I have ever seen, and I've watched some seriously demented crap in my time. It is puerile, far-fetched and corny.
Ah, screw it, this is the greatest movie ever.
ZOMBIE BEAVERS, people. Zombie. Beavers.
It's hilarious, furry, frightful fun and I can't recommend it highly enough. This is arguably the ULTIMATE beer and pizza flick and one that will undoubtedly gather a huge cult following in the years ahead. 
I want, nay, DEMAND sequels. Lots of sequels. Check it out immediately. 


While you're at it, check out the film's official Facebook page and give it a Like. You gnaw you want too…

Also, If you haven’t already, do please check out and Like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

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