Saturday, October 10, 2009

October Horror Fest #9: DEAD & BREAKFAST

Horror-comedies are tough to pull off well. The name alone is an oxymoron; how can something scary be funny, and vice versa? This goes beyond black comedy, or a horror movie with a funny scene or two. I'm making a statement: the ONLY horror-comedy that exists is Evil Dead II. No other film (that I've seen, at least) balances the gruesome horror and laughs like Raimi's classic splatter fest. Everything else that is classified as a "horror-comedy" falls into the "funny movie with gore" category. This is where we find Dead & Breakfast.

This is not to say these movies are necessarily bad. This film, along with peers Shaun Of The Dead, Fido and others are very well done and have some great performances. There is no skimping on the gore or makeup effects, either; plenty of blood and guts are flying here. The plot for Dead & Breakfast is simple: traveling group of friends stop at sketchy deserted hotel, some residents end up dead, group becomes suspects, evil spirit is accidentally released and the townsfolk turn into zombies. Makes perfect sense.

Strong performances from genre vets like Jeremy Sisto, Gina Phillips and David Carradine (who probably did this as a favor to his daughter Ever) boost the legitimacy of the film, which is then balanced out by painfully unfunny zombie dancing scenes and hip-hop/country songs about the undead. This movie would have been much better if they had played it straight; the last stand in the hotel at the end is right up there with Night Of The Living Dead in tension and scariness.

Ultimately, this is a decent movie with lots of replay value. Most of the funny scenes are actually funny, and the flesh-chomping is in full gear. Definitely one to put on during a Halloween party; everyone can appreciate it, even those weird folks averse to scary movies. What's with those people?

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