Saturday, May 31, 2008


A couple of weeks back, I'd mentioned that I didn't understand the need to get high to enjoy certain films; today, I'd like to extend that to my dislike for drug films in general, particularly the stoner comedy. Since I don't indulge, a lot of the shared lifestyle-based humor from these movies doesn't quite connect with me (an exception would be something like HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE, which uses the herb as a means to set up a series of very funny misadventures). So admittedly I'm not the intended audience for Justin Powers's 2006 alleged horror-comedy POT ZOMBIES, but I highly doubt (um, no pun intended) that even hardcore stoners would find this crap amusing.

POT ZOMBIES isn't so much a movie as it is a collection of amateurish skits centered around a crop of toxic "cannibus setiva [sic]," which wouldn't be so bad if these one-dimensional vignettes weren't so repetitive they bordered on the hypnotic. (Note to Powers and his crew: you should be high when you watch this movie, not make it.) Basically, each sketch runs down as such: stoner(s) smoke weed, transform into green-skinned zombies with glowing eyes (a hideously bad digital "effect"), and eat the person in closest proximity (in feeding sequences slightly less convincing than those in ZOMBIE LAKE)--over and over and over for 54 minutes, the mercifully brief running time feeling twice as long. Powers feebly tries to vary the formula a little by spoofing different aspects of the stonerdom, even throwing in a parody of the Columbine massacre, but the film always goes for the easiest, most obvious humor possible, so much that the jokes feel flat even before they're spoken. There's even an appearance by a fan of self-mutilation who allows himself to be hung by hooks A MAN CALLED HORSE-style, but Powers fails to realize the potential in this crude but effective sequence, simply cutting from a zombie holding a hook to the "actor" hanging by the skin of his back. (And speaking of actors, the somnambulant performances suggest the cast was smoking the genuine article.) When Powers runs out of ideas and/or friends, the movie peters out to a lame undead parade, capped off with a "shocking" shot of a full-frontal nude zombie (might as well have taken out an ad that said "Amateur Filmmaker Desperate to be Considered Edgy," dude).

Amazingly, it took four people to write this mess, though with a film this lazy and sluggish I can't imagine an actual screenplay was even written--Powers can't even make lesbian sex interesting, for cryin' out loud. And, as this was produced under the auspices of Troma, we're treated to yet another irritating Lloyd Kaufman cameo. (Y'know, Lloyd, I admire what you've accomplished with Troma, and your commitment to art--whatever form it takes--is commendable, but being shrill and annoying for the sake of being shrill and annoying does not make for worthwhile viewing.)

A few non-funny "disclaimers" stating how bad marijuana really is notwithstanding, POT ZOMBIES actually discourages drug use by showing it to be extremely boring and stupid. (Hopefully it'll discourage talent-barren filmmakers from picking up a video camera.) While there's nothing wrong with making a movie to be enjoyed in between bong hits, some type of storytelling skill and technical prowess, however rudimentary, should be present.

Please bogart this joint all you want.

No comments: