Retro Review: DOGHOUSE (2009){0}

Most zombie flicks are actually “about” something. George Romero always finds numerous ways to thread all sorts of sly social commentary throughout his tales of undead mega-carnage, and he’s not the only one: brainy filmmakers have been utilizing the “‘zombie” concept to tell all sorts of subtextual stories: Fido28 Days Later, and I Walked With a Zombie have all extracted some interesting ideas in between all the chasing, chewing and chomping, so it’s safe to say that, in many cases, the zombie-style horror flick can be plumbed for some rather smart ideas.

I told you all that so I could lead into this: Jake West’s Doghouse has none of that stuff; it’s a gleefully juvenile, enthusiastically silly, and admirably empty-headed zombie romp that feels a bit like “Shaun of the Dead Visits a Strip Club.” Doghouse makes Zombieland look like Inception. Oh sure, you could extract a few fun nuggets regarding “the battle of the sexes” from Doghouse, but for the most part the flick is more than content to coast buy on obnoxiously funny guys, gorily appealing girls, and a whole bunch of basic, silly, funny lunacy.

The plot is as simplistic as it gets: a typically immature group of “grown” men have left town for a crazy weekend of boozing, schmoozing, and womanizing — but when they show up at their quaint village destination, it becomes clear that zombies are wildly afoot. Female zombies only, it seems, which means that all the corpses lying around … are men. Oops. Talk about a bad choice for a weekend of drunken debauchery.

The gents, led by the typically wise-assed Danny Dyer (Severance), are a broadly colorful lot, and it seems that writer Dave Schaffer and director Jake West (Evil Aliens) are intent on keeping the sexism playful, the gore extra splattery, and the boys extra clueless. Script-wise, there are several amusing swipes at both men and women, but the biggest highlights in Doghouse come in the form of overt gore-geysers and small sight gags. Once we get the requisite set-up out of the way (which, to its credit, is also rather amusing), Doghouse becomes a very fast-paced and childishly excited little movie. If it strikes you in the wrong mood, Doghouse may feel like an absolute chore.

Fortunately I don’t visit those moods too often, which means I’m able to enjoy Doghouse for precisely the broad, goofy horror comedy that it’s plainly striving to be. I love that zombies are often utilized to tell smart or insightful stories — but sometimes it’s just a lot of fun to kick back with a Mad Magazine-style zombie-fest that chomps on PC sensibilities like they’re made out of obnoxious male flesh.