Monday, April 21, 2008


The ennui of a dead-end job is a great backdrop for a zombie film; the countless hours performing the same repetitive tasks, the soul-crushing tedium, the blank faces of your co-workers staring at the unmoving hands of the time clock--for a subgenre that thrives on metaphor, I'm surprised there aren't more of them set in the working-class milieu. Then again, if Ed Brisson's 2003 short film a lack of like-minded films could be a blessing.

At what must be the only 24-hour bookstore/coffeeshop (is there really that many people clamoring for a copy of THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE and a mocha latte at 4 a.m.?) employees Ryan and James gripe and moan about their crummy jobs--gee, I wouldn't mind sitting on my ass all night, passing out free coffee to random homeless guys--and their dictatorial boss Ray, who's been turning them into zombies via arcane rituals and the employees-only coffee. (Yeah, Ray's a jerk, not to mention a sucky actor, but if my hires were whiny bitches who constantly gave free stuff away, I'd turn them into the living dead, too.) For a pair of losers who complain about every aspect of their minimum-wage jobs, they sure take becoming the undead rather well, though for story's sake they still get their revenge.

Yes, we've all had shitty jobs and slaved under asshole managers, but GRAVEYARD is hardly a blue-collar wish-fulfillment fantasy; instead, it's a feeble cry of annoyance that's neither as clever or defiant as it thinks it is. Rather than adopt an axiom like CLERKS's "Title doesn't dictate behavior" (a refusal to compromise one's identity to the yes-man nature of the service industry), GRAVEYARD is content to take the same bellyaching tone as its leads.

Dreadfully inert and thoroughly unfunny, despite its repeated insistence that it is, GRAVEYARD manages to be as much fun as actually going to work, stuffing a whole eight hours of boredom into 21 minutes.

(Couldn't find this one online, but if you're curious enough, it is available on Netflix.)

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