Review: ZOMBEAVERS (2014){0}

With a title, a premise, and a presentation built around the adorably nonsense word “Zombeavers,” one should not approach a film expecting any sort of depth, warmth, humanity, or metaphorical ruminations on the desperately sad nature of man’s existence. All you need to know is if the silly-ass movie is “stupid-bad,” like most (but not all) of the Syfy Channel/Asylum movies –- we’re talking your Sharknados here – or if it’s “stupid-fun,” like lots of low-budget monster comedies that are made by people with more affection for B-movies than actual production cash. Examples include flicks like Big Ass Spider, Black Sheep, Tremors, and the resoundingly silly but generally satisfying Zombeavers.

Brainchild of prolific TV writer Jordan Rubin and a pair of fraternal screenwriters who usually write music for movies like Piranhaconda and Dinocroc vs. Supergator, Zombeavers is precisely the type of amiable goofy farce that one might hope for once the idea of crossing slasher flicks, zombie movies, creature features, and (of course) broad comedy enters the conversation. A good portion of Zombeavers wants you to laugh AT the ridiculousness of their concept, but (to the film’s credit) it also gets us to start laughing WITH the movie, as well, because a good deal of the quippy banter is quite funny, not to mention delivered by solid actors who seem perfectly aware of how silly their current project is.

Oh, did we skip over the plot synopsis? Sorry. (Ahem) A bunch of young idiots travel into the woods, hang out in a cabin, deal with some creepy locals, and then spend a lot of time stumbling over and running away from zombified beavers who crave human flesh. Like virtually every film of this ilk, be they stoned-faced grim or outrageously silly, Zombeavers struggles to keep things bouncing during the first 40-some minutes, but once the shit starts to hit the dam, the flick starts to pick up steam and dole out chuckles in a pleasantly confident fashion. It certainly doesn’t hurt that a few of the young leads are really quite funny, nor that character actors like Rex Linn, Bob Shafer, and Brent Briscoe pop up to add a little color and professional spark to the project – plus, and this is nice, this goofball movie actually throws a few surprises at the folks who stuck around for Act III.

Zombeavers is never scary, but it’s never actually trying to be, and while it’s not exactly a satire of slasher movies or a parody of killer animal tales, there’s always something to be said for a straight, earnest, and broadly silly farce that aims for super-goofy humour, and dares you to not crack a few smiles.

Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg)