Zombeavers (2014)

Directed By: Jordan Rubin
Written By: Jordan Rubin
  Al Kaplan
  Jon Kaplan
Starring: Courtney Palm
  Rachel Melvin
  Rex Linn

Zombeavers is a horror comedy in which a trio of female college students head to a remote riverside cabin for the weekend to get away from their significant others/have a girl’s weekend. Predictably, the boys show up, and the weekend turns into one of drinking, debauchery and a whole lot of talking about feelings. Things soon turn south however, when beavers who have been exposed to radioactive chemicals, or ‘Zombeavers’ begin to attack the cabin and its denizens. Can they escape the terrible clutches of these undead critters? Will any of them survive? Do we even want them to?

Zombeavers is a mess. It’s hard to see what they were going for here at all, and it’s a travesty that this film bears the title of horror comedy so brazenly. The comedic moments fall flat on their face more often than not, and the serious moments are, in fact, where the majority of the hilarity comes.

In terms of filling the cliché-ometer, they picked their characters by the numbers. For the girls, you have the geeky-but-hot girl, the blonde shy and retiring girl, and the girl with a couple of tattoos, which simply MUST mean she’s the sexually open one who loves getting naked in front of everyone. Batting for the boys, you have the unfaithful boyfriend, the manly jock with a sensitive heart, and what can only be described as (in the loosest way possible) the ‘funny’ one. Horror films often have a string of unlikeable characters, and it brings us a macabre pleasure to seem them meet a grizzly end, however, there is at usually at least one character the viewer finds themselves rooting for wittingly or otherwise, willing them to survive. Zombeavers can boast no such character.

The term ‘zombeavers’ itself is a bewildering matter in its own right. The entire concept is brought into utter confusion halfway through the film when the “teens” start to turn after being bitten. Are they now the zombeavers? Or if they were bitten by zombeavers, what are they? The first ‘turn’ itself is simultaneously hilarious and painful to watch, but for all the wrong reasons.

The beavers are also laughable. I’m a firm believer that animatronics should always be favoured over CGI when depicting monsters and grotesques; a prime example of this being British werewolf classic Dog Soldiers, but the effort they went to here was minimal. Take note: putting a faux beaver pelt with LED eyes on top of a radio controlled boat does not a zombeaver make.

At it’s worst though, Zombeavers is sexist, puerile idiocy. It’s clear from the outset we were never going to get a silver screen gem here, but to attempt something so simple, and still fail so spectacularly is an achievement in itself. The only minor saving grace comes in the form of two completely inexplicable cameos by comedian Bill Burr and musician John Mayer. They open and close the movie in humorous form; it’s a shame everything in between was such nonsense. Even as the credits roll, the gag reel included feels more like an apology than a celebration of a completed concept, and that god-awful closing song will burrow itself into your brain and stay put for a good 24 hours. You have been warned…

Rating: ★½☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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