Does low budget equal bad cinema? I don’t think so. Even with a budget lower than low, if a film has heart, creative spirit, or just plain spunk, sometimes seeing it can be as much of a worthwhile experience as any old multi-billion dollar production. DEATH OF THE DEAD is a low budgeter, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a whole lot of fun. Part of DEATH OF THE DEAD’s charm is that it knows it’s not a blockbuster and never acts like it wants to be. The makers behind this film have seen a lot of blockbusters though and like you and me, they seem to take a lot of inspiration from them.
Part THE NEXT KARATE KID (you know, the one with Hilary Swank) and part…well, every zombie movie you’ve ever seen, DEATH OF THE DEAD is filled with that independent spirit I love to see in low budget horror films. Wanda is a geek. She’s picked on by her slutty cheerleader peers. She gets into pudding fights with bullies at school. She gets the snot kicked out of her at the karate tournament and then to add insult to injury, her opponent farts lengthily in her face.
Wait…wait…backdafucup. Pudding fight?
Yes this film has a slow mo pudding fight between two girls. How bad can it be?
Well, the production values in this film are pretty low. Effects…low. Acting…not great. But the thing that saves this film is the script and the humor. I found myself laughing quite a bit at this film. Sure, most of the film is chock full of lowbrow humor (I mentioned the fart in the face right? Her mouth was open even!!!) and it brandishes that humor with a swagger rarely seen. You’ve got to appreciate the balls this film has to go for the low laugh and stick with it for the entire film.
DEATH OF THE DEAD is memorable in that it delivers a lot of laughs and has the confidence to laugh at itself. The relationship between Wanda and her mentor may not be as poignant as Daniel San and Mr. Miagi (Wanda’s sensei tries to hit on her the whole time), but it is a fun horror story about a student and her instructor. It’s also filled with pretty hot babes. So there’s that. Though DEATH OF THE DEAD won’t win any awards, as low budget fare goes, this zombie karate mash-up waxes on much more than it waxes off.