The following review is a reader request from someone who in everyone’s best interest shall remain anonymous. He knows who he is.
Format: DVD (Universal)
Running Time: 77 minutes
Year of release: 2014
Director: Jordan Rubin
Production Studio: Armory Films/Benderspink
Get your vagina-based puns at the ready boys and girls!
It’s beaver season!
Zombeavers is a slight departure from the usual muck I like to rake, given that this movie is an intentional attempt at the so-called ‘comedy horror’ genre, with it’s tongue very much residing in cheek. I knew this before going in, and as such was unsure if this would be my kind of thing, given that unintentional stupidity is my life-blood, and there is very little left unintended in movies like Zombeavers. But after 77 minutes of hardcore beaver action (hurr hurr) I can say with all certainty that Zombeavers was…actually pretty damn good!
The DVD in my possession (that was lent to me by shifty-looking man with smelly fingers) came with one of those funky looking holographic covers that are designed to be eye-catching to inquisitive would-be shoppers in supermarkets. This is usually a red flag that screams ‘crap film that we are struggling to make money off’, but it does at least give me something to play with, even if it does highlight what a staggering commercial failure this movie was, and given that the above trailer for Zombeavers went viral with over eight million views, I was a little surprised to learn that this didn’t translate to actual ticket sales, with only $8,163 made during it’s opening weekend and a total worldwide gross of $44,080, which is frankly shit. I would imagine the rabies top-ups required by the cast during shooting would have burnt through most of that figure on day one, never mind the truckload of anti-malaria tablets.
What also surprised me slightly was that Zombeavers was produced by the creators of respectable horror films, such as ‘The Ring’, ‘Cabin Fever’, and the terrifying ‘American Pie’. Had I given more thought to this fact I may have had more faith the movie’s competence, but given the tagline of Zombeavers is ‘You’ll all be dammed!’, I knew well enough to leave my brain at the door and just go with it.
are you sure we need a script?
The film begins with two deliverymen transporting a cliché in the back of their truck. These two blue-collars are engaging in wise-cracking, as one would expect, with topics being discussed such as “my friend told me I can’t shit in his house anymore.” This charming banter has the unfortunate effect of distracting the driver, causing him to smash through a deer that explodes across the wind-shield of the truck in a bloody fountain of gore.
This encounter also has the unintended effect of dislodging a barrel from the rear of the truck and transforming it in to 100% pure concentrated plot.
That’s right! A canister of mysteriousness is flung in to a lake and drifts downstream, eventually finding its way to a beaver dam, and much like naval mines, this plot-canister only begins to spew its bright green plot-juice when in the presence of beavers, which it then does.
Oh, I should maybe point out that, much like the deer, no beavers were harmed in the making of Zombeavers as there were no fucking beavers in it. No, instead they used animatronic puppet-beavers that look like Ed Gein made them out of leftovers.
My concern at the movies accuracy to zombie lore begins with the realisation that these beavers were not dead, which you have to be to qualify as a zombie. In which case, these are more like mutant-beavers, which is an unworkable film title. It was also around this point that my mind went in to overdrive trying to think up names for alternative, vagina-centric, movie monsters for the slasher film that I myself will make one day…and all I got as I stared at the window for ten minutes was Frankenflaps, Cliterhorse, and Dracu-labia. I’m not proud of myself.
Anyway, we cut to a tearful babe in a gas station toilet who is crying over her boyfriend troubles. She is the first character introduced in to the film, therefore movie rules dictate that she must be the protagonist, right? Well, kind of, but she has a fairly specific story arc, which we’ll touch upon later.
I’m sorry, I’ll stop.
The ‘protagonist’ and her palls are obviously on a “no-boys no-texts” vacation to a remote part of the countryside, which is cliched and stupid, and it reminds me how no group of teenagers outside of films such as this has ever ventured to a remote rural location to enjoy themselves.
We are shown a boy fishing, who appears to be murdered by the cameraman, and his involvement in the film is never mentioned or acknowledged at any point thereafter. They arrive at a log cabin, with one of the girls asking if they are stopping for gas at what clearly isn’t a fucking gas station. But now at their destination, it’s time to get wild(!), even though this place looks like somewhere you would visit to kill yourself if you don’t want your corpse to be discovered.
Bewbs make an unexpected appearance on screen as the girls all decide to go swimming in an absolutely rancid looking lake, which only further convinces me that this movies budget went on tetanus shots and verruca plasters.
Then a bear attacks! Oh no!
But the gentle creature was only there for the boobs, and is easily brought under control by a gun-toting hunter who appears out of the bushes and asks the girls to put some clothes on.
Now night time, the girls have a popcorn fight and talk shit. Outside, we learn that beavers navigate through the woods at night using head-mounted flashlights, and spooky shenanigans happen with mysterious noises and such. Except (jump scare!) the noises were actually the trio’s boyfriends, who have surprised everyone by knowing where the fuck this place even is, and turning up with erections, and given that this movie is meant to appeal to perverted fishmongers, everyone starts fucking, with one guy screaming “I’m a Power Ranger!” during sex.
Once the boning has ended, someone goes in to the bathroom only to be confronted by a…HOLY CRAP!…zombie-beaver in the bathtub that (no shit) screams and wails like a man choking on a shoelace.
The group enter the bathroom to deal with the menace, and they beat a beaver (hurr hurr) to death. This scene is reasonably awesome.
They then throw the corpse outside and all go to bed.
Everybody loves some rabid beaver!
The following morning the girls are still bitching about the guys presence, which is slightly ungrateful considering they would all have been mass murdered by a beaver a few hours earlier if they hadn’t have been there. But I do understand some of their annoyance as we now have beaver pun after beaver pun. One girl even says “can we please stop with the beaver jokes?” which is advice that was lost on the scriptwriter.
Still determined to make the most of things, they all go swimming in the same rancid pond from earlier. Except this time they are fully aware that this filthy looking swamp is the home of the very thing that almost killed them the previous night. So yes, they kind of deserve what then does happen. Namely, one of the guys gets his foot bitten off and handed back to him as a souvenir.
The ‘Protagonist’ runs back to the house to phone for help, but…Oh no!…the Zombeavers have cut the power!
The stranded group sacrifice a dog to escape the lake and make their way back to the cabin, which the Zombeavers surround and glare at menacingly.
Stuck for things to do, they all engage in relationship drama, as we learn that ‘Protagonists’ boyfriend is boning her best friend. I could not give one flying fuck about this and neither does she, as she highlights the fact that the zombified beavers that are trying to murder them should be the preferred topic of conversation, especially given that one of their friends is bleeding to death on the couch and cradling his own foot like a teddy bear.
Meanwhile at the neighbours house, their pet dog transforms in to a beaver, and in the tradition of blissfully unaware neighbours in slasher films, they get eaten to shit. The desperate teenagers, convinced of their own impending doom, decide to make a run for their car. Three of them stay behind, because…well, there is no reason why they decide to stay behind, they just do, which turns out to be fortunate for them (well, not really, everyone ends up dead but whatevs) as the road out of town is blocked by a fallen tree.
The hero of the group, who is really settling in to his role as the actual protagonist, gets crushed to death by a separate falling tree, which is hilariously retarded, and not for the first time I’ve a big grin on my face.
The guy with no foot and one of the girls, now stranded and about to become beaver-lunch, are miraculously saved by the gun-toting hunter man from before, and they all drive back to the cabin. On their way the following is said with all seriousness by one of the group…
“We can’t turn our backs against each other. That’s what the beavers would want.”
The trio find that they cannot get back in to the cabin as the occupants have boarded everything up, and with the beavers closing in, they make off to the neighbours house instead. Meanwhile, back at the cabin, the ‘Protagonist’ walks in on her female friend who is sleeping with an ‘I would like to fuck you’ look on her face. This comes absolutely out of nowhere given their situation, but maybe beavers puns are an aphrodisiac for teenage girls? How the fuck would I know, I don’t understand how my own genitals work, never mind hers.
As she mounts her friend the movie takes off its stabilisers and rockets itself right in to crazy-town, as the most unexpected thing imaginable happens.
What the fuck?
What the fuck indeed, as the protagonist of the movie undergoes a terrifying transformation in to a half-woman half-beaver monster. No, I’m not joking. The movie really does tell its audience to go and fuck itself whilst killing off the protagonist.
I fully expected that this was some bizarre dream sequence of the sleeping friend, and that it would end with yet more clichéd waking up and screaming, but no, the film is very clear on the point that whatever is wrong with the beavers can now be transferred to humans, causing them to grow huge beaver-like teeth, extended fingernails, and of course, a (no shit) bloodied beaver tail.
Panic ensues, as the protagonists boyfriend cracks his now mutated zombeaver-girlfriend over the head with the baseball bat and barricades her in the bedroom. Meanwhile in the neighbours house, the guy who keeps his foot as a pet has predictably now transmorphed in to a beaver-mutant and proceeds to eat the hunter-man’s face.
The girl screams and eventually escapes by launching herself out of a first floor glass window.
Back in the cabin, what’s left of the group play whack-a-mole…
…before boarding themselves in the bathroom. For some reason (again, most likely because this movie’s target audience are creepy basement dwellers and chronic masturbators) they get uncontrollably horny once again and begin to have sex, whilst a beaver electrocutes itself in a plug socket so it can set itself and the house on fire. Unperturbed, the horny couple make the most of this opportunity to grind their genitals together, except this tender moment is brought to an abrupt end when the mutant beaver-girl bursts up through the floorboards and eats the guys penis.
This scene is reasonably disturbing, and absolutely hilarious.
Stranded in a house that’s on fire and beset on all sides by zombeavers, the panicked girl appears to be hopeless. However, just as all seems lost, the one remaining survivor from the neighbours house drives through the wall and rescues her. They make a ‘just in the nick of time’ daring escape and we see that just about every single living creature in this movie, including the bear from earlier, has now been zombeavered.
But free of the beaver menace they make their escape. They approach the fallen tree barricade and we see the hero guy, who is still crushed under a tree but is now himself a zombeaver. This makes no sense unless the tree itself was infected, which is obviously ridiculous so I’m just going to assume he was nibbled on as he lay there dying. But I am not given the opportunity to dwell on things as one of the remaining girls transforms in to a zombie-beaver and ends up with her head getting absolutely hacked to fucking ribbons by her best friend.
The sole survivor, who I suppose was the real protagonist the entire time, lumbers off slowly. That is, until the two morons from the beginning of the film make exactly the same mistake with the deer and drive in to her at high speed and kill her instantly.
Smash-cut to credits.
I’ll be honest, this movie was pretty damn awesome. Which came as a surprise, as I have never once watched a self-aware comedy horror that has been remotely enjoyable. Either the comedic aspects are tired or the horror is lazy and formulaic. I’m not suggesting that Zombeavers breaks new ground in any way, but it succeeds in taking a tried and trusted formula and having a little fun with itself. The premise is enjoyably stupid enough to know that right from the start this isn’t a movie that takes itself seriously, therefore there is no requirement for the audience to either, which can greatly help with getting behind a film if ‘suspension of disbelief’ is never on the cards.
Almost every minute of this movie is entirely predictable however (except the human zombeaver thing obviously), with cliché after cliché waiting around every corner. But again, this was very much intended by it’s creators, so it’s less of a case of expecting something new or original and more an opportunity to see how well crafted its antics are. And they certainly are relaxingly moronic enough that I could sink in to it’s gory stupidity without the temptation to judge its nonsense too harshly. And that surely is the sign of a successful film: one that you can lose yourself in and enjoy for the spectacle.
So yes, I would recommend picking up Zombeavers and just letting it do its thing. Besides, I think the producers might need the spare change.