Just when you thought the water was safe
by TS Alan
A trio of sorority sisters head to a remote cabin by a lake for a girls only weekend, after Jenn discovers that her boyfriend has cheated on her. But the other two’s horny boyfriends can’t stay away and intrude on the getaway, bringing Jenn’s cheating boyfriend along in hopes of reconciling the couple. But the boys’ plan for a weekend of sex and partying quickly goes awry when the group is attacked by a colony of flesh hungry beavers, mutated by a toxic waste spill, and they find themselves in a fight for their lives against these ferocious, carnivorous semi-aquatic mammals.
Zombeavers setup essentially follows the old horror formula of a group of teens at an idyllic cabin retreat, where a relentless enemy is hell bent on their demise. Remove the masked slasher, insert mutant animals, and if done correctly you should a hilarious horror comedy. But where Jonathan King’s 2006 horror/comedy Black Sheep succeeded, this film doesn’t.
It begins funny enough, in a humorous homage to Return of the Living Dead 2. Instead of a military truck transporting barrels of Trioxin in a downpour and one falling into the river, we get two truckers (Robert R. Shafer & Bill Burr) transporting medical waste, who are having a raunchy conversation about a homosexual encounter. Not paying attention to the road the driver slams the truck into a deer, dislodging a barrel of toxic green goo that falls into the river and down stream, ending up at a beaver lodge. The trucker humor is off color and funny, as well as the deer gag, but that is where the genuine humor stops.
Zombeavers is a horror/comedy but fails to provide any true scares or laugh-out-loud moments beyond the opening scene. One of the reasons is the beavers are not surprisingly scary nor are the animal antics outrageously funny. Sure it’s intentional that the beavers don’t look real, partly out of budget constraint and partly as a gag, but it’s not played up enough. I found more humor and menace in the gopher from Caddy Shack than the zombeavers. But that is not to say that the mutated critters don’t have their charm, and by the halfway point you will be rooting for them to put an end to the unengaging and stereotypical cast of characters.
However, not all the cast is unlikable, in fact the character you will immediately take a dislike to is actually the most enjoyable and well acted; Smyth, played by veteran actor Rex Lynn. Honorable mention goes to Brent Briscoe and Phyllis Katz, who play Winston and Myrne Gregorson, the neighbors.
Zombeavers is not a total waste of viewing time. It has its moments but they are too few and too far in between to make this film truly enjoyable, or one that you’ll want to revisit over the years.
Directed by Jordan Rubin
Screenplay by Al Kaplan, Jordan Rubin and Jon Kaplan
Cast: Rachel Melvin, Cortney Palm, Lexi Atkins, Hutch Dano, Peter Gilroy, Jake Weary, Rex Lynn, Brent Briscoe, Phyllis Katz, Robert R. Shafer and Bill Burr
Run Time: 76 minutes
Release Date: UK on DVD/Blu-ray, October 20, 2014. USA on March 20, 2015