NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB
- RELEASE DATE: Available on Blu-ray September 6th (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
- WRITTEN BY: Kyle Rankin, Andy Selsor
- DIRECTED BY: Kyle Rankin
- STARRING: Ray Wise, Maria Thayer, Michael Cassidy
Zombie comedies…I usually hate the (non)living shit out of them; and I’d really like to give Edgar Wright and his (admittedly awesome) SHAUN OF THE DEAD the ol’ one finger salute for making it seem like making one of these flicks is a great fuckin’ idea. Anyway; here comes a new zom-com; NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB…
After being given the walk of shame after a one night stand with an affable dude named Ryan (Cassidy), our awkward heroine Deb (Thayer) steps directly into a zombie apocalypse. Her hook-up actually accompanies her through this nightmare, to his credit, and before long the duo find themselves knee deep in slapstick violence, gore, and pop-culture references as they journey to find their loved ones.
Armed with a surprisingly witty and charming script; NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB is a real stand-out in the near exhausted undead comedy genre. Among the blood, guts, and terror; there is a solid amount of character development and even a romantic sub-plot. As diametrically opposed as the aforementioned elements may be; it all gels thanks to the strong performances of both Maria Thayer and Michael Cassidy. The team play remarkably well together; with Cassidy playing the practical everyman (with somewhat hipster tendencies) in contrast to Thayer’s extremely lovable (if flawed) dorky lead. Also of note is the great supporting performance from the legendary Ray Wise who plays up the ridiculousness with dead-pan humor.
While definitely a low-budget affair; the sure hand of writer/director Kyle Rankin manages to make the overall scope of the film seem way larger than it is, while also making the characters engaging and personable as chaos rages around them; no easy feat, even on the largest of budgets.
In the negative column; if you go into this expecting the ultimate experience in flesh eating terror; you will (naturally) come up wanting. This is, at its core, a romantic comedy that just so happens to have zombies wandering about (not to mention your stereotypical anti-undead militia…here played for maximum laughs). For me that wasn’t a problem as the storytelling was strong with some love given to the conventions of the living dead genre (minus one major deviation at the 11th hour to keep things fresh) and game performances; but some of you staunchly hardcore dudes will be impossible to convince.
All in all; NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB is a charming lil’ winner of a film; and would make for a great night’s viewing if you want to introduce your less horror biz inclined significant other to the basic trappings of the zombie genre (like seeing the occasional body part devoured like so much bologna) while still keeping things light.