Saturday, September 16, 2017

Night of the Living Deb

* spoilers *

Awkward Deb Clarington parties with her best friend and runs into an attractive man named Ryan Waverly. His fiance abruptly breaks up with him after he refuses a better paying position from his father Frank. After talking and drinking for a while, they both black out. When they wake up in bed together on the 4th of July, it's awkward and Ryan pretends to leave to get Deb to leave. They are the only ones in town to sleep through the zombie apocalypse. Ryan and Deb have to work together to survive despite the awkardness and their idealogical differences.

Night of the Living Deb is a charming installment in the growing zombie romantic comedy genre. Awkward Deb is insecure and needed a push to even talk to Ryan. Her clothes were unfashionable even in the 80's and all of her belongings are out of date. She drives a clunky gas guzzling car and has an ancient Nokia cell phone. Her bizarre stories about her family, her investigative reporter questions, and her cheesy jokes won me over despite her annoying awkwardness and conservative environmental views. Her complete opposite is Ryan. He's only comfortable when he's in complete control and when he gets everything as clean as he possibly can. The position he refused was because that company was rated the most environmentally unfriendly. Their ideals clash of course, but they have to put those aside to survive.

These zombies move quickly and feel pain. The makeup is pretty basic, but it fits with the cheesy, comedic vibe. People who die seem to be rising as zombies, but the vector isn't identified until near the end of the film. It turns out to be the tap water affected by Frank's toxic company. (Ray Wise brings his usual brand of crazy and charming to Frank.) Ryan and Deb also disagreed on how to treat the zombies. As a gun toting conservative, Deb would rather kill herself than become a zombie and kills zombies she encounters with gusto. Ryan would want to live as zombie and points out that the disease might be curable and to avoid killing them, so they wrangle her best friend in the trunk just in case. Deb eventually relents and agrees not to kill any more. It's funny because I've had this exact conversation with my friends. I'm in the camp that zombies should die because they might attack me later.

The ending is unexpected. Deb has to face her fears about being in front of the camera as someone who feels comfortable behind the camera. Her look gets a full modern transformation. Her zombie report detailing the disease and its origin goes viral, but zombies are still on the attack. Overall, this was a quirky zomromcom. It's nothing profound and fits if you want a fun movie. My only problem was Deb's annoying behavior early in the film and the prevalence of romantic comedy tropes over the horror story.

My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins

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