Monday, December 10, 2007


Writing a critique of the 2006 "production" BEN OF THE DEAD, a film as stupid and uninspired as its title, seems like a pointless affair, since it's obviously an amateur-hour, hey-I-have-a-camera-let's-make-a-movie offering. But still, I'm watching 365 of these things, so what the hell.

It took two directors--Matt Ricacho and Adam Lee--to concoct this story about a young boy whose late-night trip to the kitchen ends in a zombie attack. Clearly this kid (Ben Kaplan-Good, hence the movie's lame-ass title) is no professional, but even so he manages to occupy his semi-dimensional character with zero substance; even the discovery of a bloodied handprint on the window is greeted with slack-jawed amazement rather than genuine horror. The movie shows a flicker of promise when the zombies show up, displaying a decent sense of homemade atmosphere with the use of shadows and the zombie make-ups aren't terrible, even passable given the limitations of the project. But Ricacho and Lee decided to utilize the worn-out "It was all a dream--or was it?" ending, stamping out any charity or good will one might have for this thing. (They also spent roughly a third of the short's running time on credits and outtakes, which is pretty damn superfluous since the movie has a one-take feel to it.)

Do I feel mean pissing on what was most likely a bunch of kids whiling away a couple of slow evenings? A little, since they obviously love the zombie genre and show a slight glimmer of filmmaking prowess (very slight, mind you, but it's there), but putting out their movie in a public forum--even if it's YouTube--makes them fair game. And besides, even within the home-movie parameters they're working, they still could've come up with something better than this.

No comments: