Dead & Breakfast

Starring: Jeremy Sisto, Gina Philips, Ever Carradine and Portia de Rossi
Anchor Bay Entertainment UK
RRP: 14.99
Certificate: 18
Available 10 April 2006

A group of young adults are travelling by mobile home to a friend's wedding in Galveston, when they lose their way and decide to spend the night at a B&B in the remote town of Lovelock. When the owner and his French chef are viciously slaughtered overnight the sheriff detains them while he investigates. It soon becomes clear (only to the scriptwriter, it seems) that the B&B owner has inadvertently released the demon spirit of an unborn foetus from a little box (like you do), and now it is possessing all the townsfolk. Zombie mayhem ensues, with half the group holed-up in the barricaded B&B, while the others are off to the cemetery with a drifter who knows too much, to perform a ceremony which might just save them all. If they can live that long...

There's no other way to describe this film except gruesome. Not so much in the sense of being bloody; just bloody awful. I've seen my fair share of horror movies, both dark and comedic, but this mess fails to fall into either category. It only falls over itself.

It's evident that they've tried to achieve a gory humorous piece, but had no idea exactly where to aim its "feel". Therefore, we have influences from Night of the Living Dead, the excellent send-up Return of the Living Dead, and snatches of The Evil Dead. None of these homages are successful because comedy is all about timing and Dead & Breakfast has absolutely no timing at all. All of the supposedly funny scenes are forced with use of slapstick or close-ups of someone giving somebody else a strange look. Comedy only works in horror if the suspense can be sufficiently built-up. Here, the characters are nobodies; who cares if they're killed?

The script must have been written on the back of a beer mat in someone's lunch hour. I'm pretty open-minded but, my word, talk about grim; this film was so dire I had to endure it in four separate sittings... and even then I was thinking about what needed to be done in the garden. What really capped it off was the country & western singer who kept popping-up throughout the tedium and singing bits of the plot just in case I might have nodded-off for the last ten minutes. Now I really have use for a chainsaw.

Anchor Bay, who always do their best to put together a good package, have included two commentaries with various people in front and behind the camera, outtakes (even these are short and unfunny), deleted and extended scenes (nooooo!!!!!!!), Zach's additional songs (do me a favour!), a few stills and alternate credits. Good try Anchor Bay, but when you're working with this sort of material you're always going to come up empty handed.

Ty Power

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