Sunday, March 23, 2008


Horror fans generally get bent out of shape whenever mainstream culture co-opts our beloved tropes, like the recent glut of watered-down J-Horror remakes (how cheap are they making these things anyway, if the failures of ONE MISSED CALL, THE EYE, and SHUTTER aren't enough to deter Hollywood?). Arthouse and indie directors have been known to use the practice as well, and sometimes the results are fascinating (Michael Almereyda's NADJA comes to mind). Or, as in the case of Dave Gebroe's ZOMBIE HONEYMOON, it drags elements of the genre kicking and screaming into the realm of pretentious, navel-gazing cinema.

Presented by Showtime, this 2004 film opens with a newlywed couple (played by Tracy Coogan and Graham Sibley) bursting out of the chapel and hopping into their tin can-trailing car. We're supposed to feel exuberant over these two beautiful young people embarking on a new life together, but they're introduced as such obnoxious loudmouths that I was weary with their company within the first few minutes. It doesn't get better when we follow them to their honeymoon getaway--15 minutes with this pair and I was wishing I was back in that abandoned hospital with those jokers from THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING.

Their marital bliss is short-lived when hubby is attacked on the beach by a zombie (a scene which begins with much potential as the zombie slowly emerges from the sea, then fizzles out with no flair and no payoff, as arbitrary a plot-starter as I've ever seen), who pukes black bile into his throat and turns him into the living dead. From there it's an oh-so-tedious ordeal as Coogan tries to cope with her spouse's condition, as she watches him do really disgusting things like eat steak with gluttonous abandon--somebody tell Gebroe that vegan outrage makes for poor drama. Sibley hits all the required bases: he eats human flesh, yet we never see him actually procure his victims, nor do we see him wrestle with his affliction; Coogan weeps and moans plenty, but I felt that it was for her own inconvenience than empathy for her husband. Gebroe's obviously more interested in how his characters deal with being undead than reveling in visceral thrills, though their interaction is so talky and dull that it's difficult to feel anything at all for these uninteresting people.

There's way too many "relationship" films involving the living dead that are better than ZOMBIE HONEYMOON--like MY BOYFRIEND'S BACK, ba-zing!--for you to waste your time with this drivel.

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