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Black October 14: Dead & Breakfast

October 14, 2009

It’s like a bad horror movie, only worse.

That isn’t me talking. That’s the tagline to this low-budget indie gorefest horror/comedy. If they’re going to tell me that right on the cover of the DVD, I guess I have to watch it to find out, right?

Dead and Breakfast is one of those movies I’ve had for ages but never watched, because I’m not a big fan of zombie flicks. As it turns out, it isn’t a zombie flick, not exactly. In fact, the characters argue about whether the shuffling re-animated corpses they’re fighting can technically be considered zombies … while they’re fighting them off.

We have a good young cast: Erik Palladino, Jeremy Sisto, Gina Phillips, Bianca Lawson … Oz Perkins is in it, too; he played the communications officer who couldn’t tell Romulan from Vulcan in the new Star Trek movie. He’s also the son of Tony Perkins, aka Norman Bates, which means he’s the right guy for a horror movie set in an inn. The female lead is played by Ever Carradine, whose dad was Gilbert in Revenge of the Nerds. Seriously.

There isn’t much of a plot for the first half of the film. A group of people, some of whom are strangers, is using a motor home to travel across Texas to a wedding when they get lost and have to stop in a small town for the night. They stay in a  bed and breakfast (why they don’t stay in the motor home is never explained). While they’re there, the B&B’s owner and chef, David Carradine (Ever’s uncle) and Diedrich Bader, meet nasty ends. And then all hell breaks loose.

The movie has a musical narration of sorts as a country trio pops up at certain moments to set the tone (at one point even breaking into a weird hip-hop/twang hybrid).

The source of the zombification is actually pretty unusual, and that served to revive my flagging interest. And the non-stop spurting blood and graphic violence is offset by weird humour and solid, quirky acting from a large and very good cast, which also includes a cameo from Portia di Rossi and a great performance by Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the sheriff.

Writer/director Matthew Leutwyler clearly wanted to try every bloody horror movie trick in the book, which he does. With a lesser script, or lesser actors, this movie would have been an utter failure. But it works, and it’s fun, and it has a few good scares. It won’t make your life better, but it won’t kill you to watch it.

It’s like a bad horror movie, only better.

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