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Dead And Breakfast

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Dead And Breakfast

Director: Matthew Leutwyler
Runtime: 88 minutes
Cast: Jeremy Sisto, Erik Palladino, Gina Philips
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Dead And Breakfast

Director: Matthew Leutwyler
Runtime: 88 minutes
Cast: Jeremy Sisto, Erik Palladino, Gina Philips

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Good movies realize that stumbling upon a clever premise is only the first step in the long, laborious process of crafting a worthwhile film. Movies like Dead And Breakfast, however, seem to believe that a halfway-clever conceit (which is never more than halfway clever) like "redneck zombies" is all it takes to haul otherwise forgettable drive-in fare past the goal line. Granted, Dead And Breakfast's bloody, Fangoria-loving heart is in the right place, and the filmmakers have seen/emulated all the right movies. But why on Earth would anyone want to see a half-assed B-movie that worships at the altar of the Evil Dead movies when they could just watch Sam Raimi's classic splatter-comedy trilogy again?

In a standard horror-comedy setup, film follows a group of generic zombie fodder on their way to a wedding in Galveston, Texas. They stop in at an eccentric bed-and-breakfast in a hick town where things start to go wrong immediately following the death of proprietor David Carradine. For reasons far too ridiculous to go into, the sleepy little town soon turns into a seething cauldron of the dead and damned. As with the Resident Evil movies, the screenplay goes out of its way to assert more than once that the creatures the city slickers encounter are not technically zombies. But hey, if it lurches like a zombie, moans like a zombie, and hungers for human flesh like a zombie, it doesn't seem wholly unreasonable to call it a zombie.

Writer-director Matthew Leutwyler keeps tongue planted firmly in cheek throughout, but the film's attempts at humor mostly sputter. It may be a cute idea, for example, to have a down-home country troubadour serve as the film's singing narrator, but by the time he's reduced to rapping a threatening song while zombies line-dance, the gag has long since worn out its welcome. The film tries to make up in bloodshed what it lacks in suspense, but all the plasma in Texas can't produce scares in a vacuum. In a self-conscious moment late in the action, one character says she feels like she's in a bad horror movie. No kidding. It's no more rewarding being on the other side of the screen.

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