A low budget, low-brow lampoon of the zombie genre that doesn’t always hit its target but isn’t brain dead
by TS Alan
A mashup parody of The Walking Dead, Warm Bodies and Zombieland with nods to and finger poking at a plethora of the most iconic, and not-so-iconic, zombie films of the past 15 years.
I am a huge fan of the zombie genre of both the comedic and the dramatic, but have become jaded over the past few years at the recent glut of atrocious, uninspired zombie films that have been churned out — and yes, I know I’ve stated that before. When I heard that there was going to be a mashup mockery of the zombie horror genre from writer Tim Ogletree and director Scott Dow, I was very leery. I’m not one of those fans that see parodies of my favorite films as disrespect, but I do demand that they are done well. So I approached The Walking Deceased with trepidation but with an open mind, and was surprised that the film was genuinely funny, most of the time.
That doesn’t mean that The Walking Deceased is a great film, for it does have it’s issues. At times it is juvenile and dim-witted and some of the gags just don’t work, as well as some of the social media references. But the film if far better than those horrible Aaron Seltzer/Jason Friedberg parody movies of recent years (Meet the Spartans, The Starving Games, Disaster Movie, etc).
There are many zombie films Ogletree and Dow give the nod to or outright mock, other than the main films that their parody heavily relies on. 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead and Day of the Dead are quite obvious. However, send ups and inferences to Zombie Strippers!, Land of the Dead and Z Nation (amongst a few) are most likely only to be recognized by the biggest of zombie fans.
The main Walking Dead roles feature Sheriff Lincoln (Dave Sheridan) and his son Chris (Mason Dakota Galyon). Lincoln constantly calls his son “Cawwwrll” in an over accentuate voice,” clearly a poke at Andrew Lincoln’s “southern accent”. Both characters are cartoonish and ridiculous. While Sheridan’s heightened and over-the-top impersonation of Sheriff Rick Grimes is funny, it is Galyon who nails it as the bratty, foul-mouthed Chris, getting most of the film’s best lines, like “Get over to the bar and help yourself to a big fat bowl of shut the fuck up.” and “Nobody pays top dollar to see a one boobed stripper.”
Troy Ogletree, plays Romeo in a send up of the Nicholas Hoult role in Warm Bodies. Though Ogletree has the “R” routine down, he is only mildly amusing. This is no fault of his own, it’s just that he barely gets any funny lines, which is a shame since his impersonation as well as his voice over is dead on (pun intended).
In the two main male Zombieland roles are Joey Oglesby as Chicago and Tim Ogletree as Green Bay. Oglesby gives a fine subdued yet funny performance as the “Tallahassee” character, which counters Harrelson’s more intense portrayal. On the opposite side of the scale, Ogletree goes full out annoying in his role, sometimes funny but mostly just irritating to the Nth degree. I really had wished it was Green Bay that had died in the film instead of… Oops, no spoilers.
As for the supporting cast, most do a fine job with the limited character development and jokes that are given to them. However, one does shine brighter than the others and that is Andrew Pozza, who portrays Darnell. His deadpan version of the Walking Dead‘s Darrell is truly funny, as Pozza wields his toy crossbow with benign inaccuracy, while mocking Darrell’s signature character moves with comedic accuracy.
The Walking Deceased falters at times trying to be too clever and too outrageous. However, when they filmmakers get it right, it’s spot on. Could it have been better? Sure. It is atrocious? Certainly not. And it is certainly worth the watch considering the excellent production values for such a low budget film.
The Walking Deceased
Directed by Scott Dow
Screenplay by Tim Ogletree
Cast: Tim Ogletree, Joey Oglesby, Dave Sheridan, Troy Ogletree, Sophie Taylor Ali, Danielle Garcia, Andrew Pozza, Dave Sheridan, Mason Dakota Galyon
Run Time: 88 minutes
Release Date: In US theaters now and on VOD. On DVD April 21.