Zombeavers DVD Review: Three Ladies Tending to Their Rotting Beavers

An admirable entry into the horror comedy genre.
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The Horror Comedy is a rather well explored genre at this point. From more goofy efforts like Young Frankenstein and Scary Movie to those that have fun with the blood and guts like Club Dread and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil to the hilariously terrible Sharknado, it's been done well enough times that it can be tricky throwing a new entry into the ring. Zombeavers goes for the absurd lampooning of horror tropes while still having plenty of yuck to splatter to and fro.

Like so many movies of its ilk before it, we begin with three college girls going to a secluded cabin to unwind and explore their issues. Jenn (Lexi Atkins) is dealing with a cheating boyfriend, Mary (Rachel Melvin) is there to be the voice of reason, and Zoe (Cortney Palm) is just there to act crazy and take her top off at every given opportunity. Despite being sworn away, their dopey boyfriends ultimately arrive on the scene to introduce a few acres of screwing and controversy into the mix. There's the scary weirdo in the woods who warns everyone to behave, the hapless neighbors who get caught up in the midst of it all, and of course the titular zombie beavers, the product of some harsh chemicals accidentally getting dumped into the nearby lake.

The characters are enjoyable, the dialogue fairly sharp and often funny ("We can't turn against each other right now. That is exactly what the beavers would want"), and the zombeavers almost as menacing as the critters from Critters -- they can't roll quickly on the ground or shoot spiny needles from their backs, but they can use their flat tails to smash lower extremities and sport a nasty overbite. Perhaps the best (by which I mean ludicrous) part is what happens to people when they get bitten by a zombeaver. Both these effects and the dismembering of undead dam-builders are gross and sinewy and fun to look at. Many hours must have been spent in makeup chairs and creature design. The victims fight back as best they can, and at one point, it felt like Whack-a-Mole: The Movie. The cast bites it in a sequence contrary to horror standards, the least likely lasts the longest, and every death is equal parts horrible and humorous.

The whole thing wraps up with a themey credits tune that sounds like a Tony Bennett Vegas lounge singer act, some goofs during the credits, then an after-credits stinger of sorts implying what the next entry in the franchise might bee. The DVD is also packed with behind the scenes on the John Mayer and Bill Burr cameos, making of featurettes, a deleted scene, cast and crew commentary, auditions, storyboards, BtS stills, and both foreign and domestic trailers. There's a lot here for a movie that didn't even break $9k on its opening weekend (according to IMDB).

This is a movie that knows exactly what it is -- stupid, raunchy, gory, and fun. It never tries to be more than it is, and it excels at what it's shooting for. I'd happily put this on my shelf next to the also excellent Club Dread and Tucker and Dale.

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