FILM THREAT REVIEW: ZOMBEAVERS

2014 SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION!
Unrated
85 minutes

*

Did you guys know that the word “beaver” doesn’t just refer to the forest animal? It can also be a euphemism for female genitalia! It’s true. And Jordan Rubin’s first feature film won’t let you forget it. If you love single entendres, boobs and gore and don’t consider characters or plot important, you are going to love “Zombeavers.”

Just to be clear, as a long-time fan of Troma movies and schlocky horror in general, I am the target audience for this movie. But it fails to live up to its premise, which could have been successfully executed one of two ways: Either the movie is fun because it’s completely earnest, or it works because it’s self-aware enough to be clever. “Zombeavers” is neither clever nor earnest. Rubin wears his influences on his sleeve (“Evil Dead,” “Critters,” “Sharknado”) but it seems like the only thing he took away from those movies were boobs and gore. Those are some of the ingredients that make it work. But he left out the cerebral baking powder. The humor is fratty and juvenile at best, and creepy uncle inappropriate at worst. The beaver jokes vacillate from lame to rapey. In light of recent events, it’s hard to find any humor in that.

But it’s not just the beaver/vagina jokes that fall flat. It’s nearly every joke, save one or two about beaver behavior that weren’t enough to save the movie. The best thing about “Zombeavers,” besides the title, is the hilariously grotesque beaver puppets and the practical effects carnage they inflict. But we spend too much time with the archetypical human characters. You don’t always have to relate to the characters in a horror movie, but they should be endearing in some way. Otherwise, it just feels like torture waiting for them to die.

I suppose the absolute perfection that is Joss Whedon’s “Cabin in the Woods” may have ruined all future cabin-set horror films. But “Zombeavers” didn’t stand a chance. Rubin seems to have assumed that his concept would float the movie so he slacked on the follow-through. He decided he could just fill in the blanks like some kind of b-movie Mad Libs. And you know what? There is a market for that paint-by-numbers crap too. But I expected more from a film festival selection.

Originally published on FilmThreat.com (now defunct).

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