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DVD Review

DVD cover

Dance of the Dead


Starring (voice): Jared Kusnitz, Greyson Chadwick, Chandler Darby and Carissa Capobianco
Lions Gate Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Available 19 April 2010

Strange events are taking place at the graveyard. The creepy attendant is doing his best to keep them under control, but when the dead arise there's not too much you can do to prevent it. To make matters even worse it's Prom night. A boy has had a disagreement with his girlfriend over his inability to take anything seriously in life. While the girl receives unwanted advances from an amorous new suitor, the boy has his own problems, forming an uneasy alliance with the school's sociopathic bully. Soon they will come together with others (including the mercenary soldier-like teacher) in order to save the Prom dance from an influx of flesh-hungry zombies. An impossible task, you might think. But an unexpected weapon is brought into play...

Zombie films, more than any other sub-genre within horror (including vampires), suffer badly from diminishing returns. The reason why I'm not normally enamoured with these is because once you know what to expect (animated corpses eating flesh and brains) the mystery has gone. Very few filmmakers have attempted something different with the premise; most resorting primarily to blood and gore in place of a decent plot. Consequentially, zombies have for the most part been reduced to a laughing stock, which is undoubtedly why films like Shaun of the Dead and Return of the Living Dead have proved popular. Dance of the Dead (which again points a finger at George Romero's flicks) is at least as good as the latter.

Whilst probably not having you falling in the aisles with uncontrollable hilarity, it will have you chuckling at its situation comedy inventiveness. When the teenage boy attempts to deliver a pizza, he sees a woman through the frosted glass front door and hurries her up. When she opens the door and lunges at him, he holds her off with one hand, telling her she looks awful and that he'll ring 911. Only when the husband and little girl emerge from inside the house looking the same does he realise the truth and run. For me the stand-out scene is when the cool rock band trio from school are rehearsing in a garage. One of them opens the door to release the smoke from their joints, only to draw the attention of a bunch of zombies out on the street. As they lurch into the confines of the garage the guitarist plays a power chord, and the zombies stop to listen. So they begin to play their music, which draws a bigger crowd but only in appreciation. However, they dare not stop playing, and when they are finally rescued they have been jamming for five hours.

The finale in the dance hall contains a number of funny moments. The characters are diverse, incorporating the school glamour girls, the bully, the strict teachers, the joker in the pack, and the sci-fi club nerds (ahem!), to name but a few. As a spoof this works really well, and was a pleasant oasis in an endless sea of zombie mediocrity.


Ty Power

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