Starring: Donavon Stinson, Lauren Holly, Lizzie Boys, Matthew Nelson-Mahood, Gabriel LaBelle
Written by: Phil Ivanusic, Davila LeBlanc
Directed by: Peter Ricq
Running Time: 85 minutes
Dead Shack is a new Zombie/Comedy from first time feature Director Peter Ricq. A slacker dad (Stinson) and his girlfriend take their teenaged kids, Summer and Colin, and Colin’s best friend Jason, out to a rundown cabin they found on Craig’s List for a weekend getaway. While Dad and girlfriend Lisa are ready to start partying when they arrive, the kids decide to explore their surroundings in the nearby woods.
They stumble across home and decide to move in for a closer look. Peeking in through the windows the see the home’s unnamed owner (Lauren Holly) entertaining two young men whom she knocks out by drugging their wine. But the biggest shock is yet to come as she drags the men into another room and feeds them to several zombies she had locked up. The kids run home in a panic to alert their parents who by this time are completely wasted. The teens realize it will be up to them to battle the zombies and their mysterious neighbor, on their own.
I was originally attracted to this film by its trailer which promised it to be a fun zombie romp in the tradition of Shaun of The Dead. While Dead Shack doesn’t rate on the same scale as that film, it does have its moments. Donovan Stinson is a riot as the loving but inept and inebriated father. He wistfully charges off to the rescue when he learns about the cannibals no matter how nearly unable to stand he may be.
The trio of actors playing the kids had to do most of the films heavy lifting. Colin (LaBelle) and Summer (Boys) fight like actual brothers and sisters, exchanging potshot insults throughout leaving level headed Jason to play referee. On the other hand, Lauren Holly as “the neighbor” is just sort of there. Her character gets little in the way of development or exposition. As a veteran actor who has been in the business for over thirty years she found herself in an extremely underdeveloped role.
As zombie films go Dead Shack was a small production with the bulk of the action taking place in one of the two cabins. The confined spaces do lead to some surprisingly tense and gory zombie killing fun, however. The biggest issue is the film’s uneven tone. While the humor doesn’t always work you at least knew it was supposed to be a parody/comedy. The last 15 minutes takes on a more serious tone which is too much of a contrast.
Overall, Dead Shack is still a fun and welcome entry into the zombie film genre with great action and fun performances.
Behind the scenes featurette