Dead & Breakfast
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir-scr Matthew Leutwyler
with Ever Carradine, Jeremy Sisto, Erik Palladino, Oz Perkins, Gina Philips, Bianca Lawson, David Carradine, Brent David Fraser, Diedrich Bader, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zach Selwyn, Portia de Rossi
release US 20.Apr.05,
UK 10.Apr.06 dvd
04/US 1h28

I didn't do it! Bader and Palladino

carradine sisto carradine

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Dead & Breakfast There's a clear love of cheesy horror movies in this gruesome spoof, but Leutwyler doesn't have the budget or discipline to make it work. Despite some terrific touches, it's too relentlessly corny to provide many thrills.

Six friends (Ever Carradine, Sisto, Palladino, Perkins, Philips and Lawson) on their way to wedding get lost in the creepy town of Lovelock. They stay in a B&B run by the Zen Mr Wise (David Carradine) and his grumpy French chef (Bader), both of whom die during the night. So the gang is held for questioning by the sheriff (Morgan). But it has nothing to do with them; an evil spirit has been unleashed, and unless a drifter (Fraser) can get it under control, everyone's going to be a zombie by tomorrow.

The plot isn't bad, and Leutwyler goes for broke with the gore, clearly enjoying himself with all the blood-spurting mayhem. There's a camp vibe to the film that makes it fairly enjoyable as well, although it starts to grate the more we see of hick crooner Randall (Selwyn), who sings along with all of the action. He's so awful that we just want him to die--although in a movie about zombies ("They're not zombies!"), that's not quite enough. Soon the undead are prancing along to his songs like the extras from Thriller.

Leutwyler certainly knows his horror films, because he packs this movie with references. At one point someone even shouts, "This is like a bad horror movie!" It's awash in creepy characters, annoying rednecks, dead phone lines, deep dark secrets, eerie ceremonies, silly slapstick, glaring music and buckets of blood. And the solid cast has a great time, especially Ever Carradine (as the tough chick) and Palladino (as the womaniser). So it's a pity that Leutwyler's direction isn't as inventive as his script. He just about manages to keep a grip on the chaos, but it's extremely clunky and often misjudged (the carton-frame transitions are amateurish and distracting). Although it's also often such good fun that we hope he doesn't give up just yet.

cert 18 themes, violence, gore, language 5.May.05

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Dead & Breakfast david bowker, Australia: 3/5 "About as scary as the Ghost Train ride at Luna Park. There is enough splatter to fill a blood bank, and more camp than a boy scout jamboree. True horror movies need a level of unpredictability, yet the bodies drop in this film like dominoes. However, I accept that it's tongue in cheek, and does not set out to raise the benchmark. The acting is competent and there is enough attitude from the lead roles to make you accept that they believe the situation they are in is 'real'. Some camera angles are very imaginative, and the use of split screen in the zombie attack sequence is novel. I actually found the singing muse tolerable, although his contribution borders on contrivance. The movie isn't a 28 Days Later or Shaun of the Dead wannabee, so it can't be judged on their level. As a B-grade zomcom, it's never boring and my laughometer registered 12-15 hits. The frightmeter never got over 80 beats per minute though." (3.Sep.07)
2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall