Wednesday, December 26, 2007


It's another short zombie film from Ireland, 2004's STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT from writer/director James Cotter, but this time around it's for laughs as Cotter sends up the many cliches that have plagued both zombie films and low-budget horror/sci-fi cinema in general. And despite overstaying its welcome just a little, the film's amusing enough to make it worth ten minutes of your time.

After a brief "disclaimer," we follow the misadventures of a young security guard at a top-secret laboratory as the facilities are overrun with the living dead. Broken into bite-size chunks by FRASER-esque chapter cards, STRANGERS covers all the bases including the old duffer looking forward to his retirement just before buying the farm, the gun-wielding action babe, the third act "twist," and an uplifting happy ending. Cotter throws in a lot of humorous details (such as the many helpful uses of a severed arm) and the gags flow freely without coming off as forced; some jokes work better than others, and there is one bit spoofing gratuitous product placement that chafes almost as much as the real thing, but by and large the movie's quite funny and avoids the crotch-centric frat humor that mars so many amateur comedies. My only real gripe is that at one point Cotter plays his zombies for laughs (which even a horror-comedy should never, ever do) but it's a throwaway gag and doesn't detract much from the overall picture.

Sort of a CLERKS by way of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT is a love letter to B-grade films and should get a chuckle or two out of zombie fans.


Anonymous said...

Worth pointing out this was made before "Shaun of the Dead"

Scott Emerson said...

Thanks for the tip. The description on Atom made it sound relatively recent.