Baddie – Pollution. Nature doesn’t like it.
Lesson – Dam teenagers.
I’m a terrible horror movie blogger. Not for the same reasons that the internet thinks, but because somehow this little gem of a movie about zombie beavers slipped through my grasp in 2014. In a world full of ridiculous premises and in the wake of Sharknado 2and Tusk, we get zombie beavers.
The premise is simple enough, medical waste gone wrong. The opening jokes three jokes are about abortion, gay relationships and poop respectively. I do not have good fuzzies about this movie yet – which is saying something as I enjoyed Piranha 3D quite a lot and that’s about a porn producer. Our heroines, though, seem pretty standard by horror movie terms. One blonde has just been cheated on, we have our super-sex-friendly brunette bombshell and lastly, the pack leader who has suggested and organized and enforced the girl’s weekend out. They’re in a sorority and they’ll be rocking the cabin-in-the-woods trope.
Starting with the aforementioned opening sequence, we are going to be constantly reminded that things are “omg so shocking”. That sweet older neighbor woman, yeah, she’s crass as hell. Our spunky brunette is just super liberal and doesn’t ever filter herself. It is a little self-aware and somehow, despite the irksome shock-factor humor, manages to criticize millennials without being too annoying. There are also tits.
If there was any doubt in your minds about Zombeavers not taking advantage of classic 80’s horror-style cheese, rest assured, the cheese is prevalent. It’s most evident in the beaver puppets, and the musical score decisions. There’s a solid Die Hard reference.
Honestly, I could wax poetic about standard horror tropes and why each and every character here deserved to die because horror logic, but I could also direct you to hundreds of other posts and blogs that do that. The interesting and original thing about Zombeavers is the switch in pace around the forty-minute mark. I got bored about halfway through, because I’m not one of those horror fans that is tickled pink by what I call puppet movies like Blood Gnome. I do appreciate them for what they are, and I’m definitely entertained and I have a good time BUT I feel that puppet movies sometimes rely too much on cheap humor to sell the concept. As much as I liked Milo, for example, it was ultimately about a demon in someone’s butt. So after a point, while the characters are waxing poetic and negotiating relationships and the beavers are literally waiting for them outside calmly, I got bored. I will consent that puppet movies typically involve really great practical effects, and Zombeavers is no exception.
Then they did a smart thing, and they exploited all of the dismissal I had built up around the cheesy jokes and they cashed that in with a solid fake-out and a little twist. The brilliance of it came with the timing almost exclusively, the twist itself wasn’t very original, but it was sold so well. After that, the last twenty minutes were highly entertaining and I enjoyed the rest of the movie quite a lot.
The success of Zombeavers is the long con, but the failure of Zombeavers is also the long con. Stay interested long enough for the pay off, and you’ll be in business. Tolerate some crass humor for genuine comedy moments and tongue-in-cheek jokes and you’ll have a good time.