DEAD SHACK (October 5th)


YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU TAKES PART IN THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE; WATCHING ONE HORROR MOVIE A DAY THROUGHOUT OCTOBER. SOME OF THEM OLD, SOME OF THEM NEW, SOME OF THEM HAVE JUST BEEN ON OUR SHELVES FOR YEARS GATHERING DUST, STILL IN CELLOPHANE...

If I had to single out my least favourite horror sub-genre, I think it would probably be horror-comedy. You may think that's odd for a website that is named after a line from Shaun of the Dead. However, there are some mitigating factors here. Firstly, there aren't a tremendous amount out there so there is a smaller pool to choose some favourites from but for me personally, I think that the majority of these films are basically comedies, with some horror tropes thrown in. Making a movie that is effectively tense, scary AND funny is a monumental task and there aren't many films out there that manage to get close to that. Evil Dead 2, Ready or Not, Scream, Krampus, Cabin in the Woods and Gremlins are all films that get about as close as you can get without spilling into out and out comedy. It was always my intention to get one horror-comedy into the 31 days challenge though and after a bit of looking around, I plumped for 2017's Dead Shack.


The film follows a dysfunctional family (a deadbeat party loving dad, his latest girlfriend, his feisty teenage daughter, his idiotic teenage son and his meek best mate) as they head out to a rundown cabin in the woods for a weekend of getting back to nature and drinking lots. Shortly after they arrive, the three kids explore the woods and stumble upon a house which they are about to investigate when the owner (Played by Mary Samsonite from Dumb and Dumber ;) ) returns. She's not alone though and she goes inside with two young guys, who clearly think they are about to get lucky. The curious teens watch the action unfold from outside and although at first the lame behaviour of the two dudes inside (who are pretty drunk) is quite amusing, things take a sinister turn when the woman appears to drug them. When they go for a closer look, they see the woman feeding one of the unconscious guys to one of her family members who is of course, a zombie. But it turns out that there are more undead family members being kept inside the house and to make matters worse, the woman knows they have seen everything. The teens try and get back to the cabin to alert the adults and what follows is pure mayhem...

Although Dead Shack has its problems, it just about delivers enough on both the comedy and gore front to be considered one of the better horror-comedies out there. The film actually has a serious (and rather grim) opening scene but as soon as we are introduced to the family, it's pretty obvious that this is a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously at all. The dialogue is full of flippancy and sarcasm and every other line feels like it's after laugh. Not all of these land mind you, but there are some great one-liners that compensate. This works better in the first half of the film when the violence is less frequent and some of it is pretty crude and stupid but hey, it's what you come to expect from a splatter movie like this. How much you enjoy the comedic elements of this will probably depend on your maturity level to be honest. Although saying that, I consider myself relatively mature and I was laughing at penis jokes so, what are you gonna do?


Thankfully Dead Shack doesn't really spent any time delving into the origins or the mythology of the zombies. They're just your regular, standard, textbook zombies and to be honest, we don't need to know the how and why. Why spend time on any of that when you could allocate the time to general japery and skull smashing? It's actually a bit of a gorefest and for a low budget indie there it certainly goes all out on the practical effects. First time Director Peter Ricq actually deserves a fair bit of credit for producing a rather good looking film too. And even though there is a lot of action and bloodletting, the tone and the pacing is such that it sort of feels like a chilled out stoner comedy, albeit with a carnage ridden third act (and no drugs) The soundtrack is pretty ace as well.


Is it in the same league as other zomcoms like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead? Nah, but it's still a hoot. It's like a mash up of The Evil Dead and Stranger things, with some added Canadian quirkyness – and that's fine with us

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I'm seeing Saint Maud tomorrow night. So I need to store up as many laughs as I can before that ordeal...

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