So, Mike's dead. And he's a zombie – a coherent one at that. But at first, he doesn't realise this. He gets shot at, and other zombies don't attack him – so you think he might take a hint. It's not until he hooks up with fellow coherent zombie Brent that the truth comes out. Mike's been dead for three years, but has now come back to life. As a zombie. As you do. And he realises that before he died, he was about to propose to his girlfriend Elli. So they decide to go on a road trip and track her down … they're zombies on a mission of love.
Even though they're zombies, Mike and Brent do their best to fit in with the living and go unnoticed. They're careful not to eat people and they don't shamble about (the zombies here are the Romero-style shamblers, not the Boyle/Snyder speedsters). They don't want to eat anyone's brains, or entrails; they just want to go home. So off they go, Brent and Mike. A bit of an odd couple, although they do share the common bond of being zombies. Brent is a laid back, easy going, fun-loving “life is a party” dude, while Mike's a bit of an uptight asshole. We know this because he wears glasses, for a start. And so with a bunch of mysterious government scientists on their tail, Mike and Brent hitch a ride with Cliff, a live human being on his way to the coast to scatter his late wife's ashes.
Yes, it's kind of a zom-rom-com. And comparisons will be made with Shaun of the Dead. But they're quite different. For a start, Deadheads is American. And it's a film from the zombie point of view – the only other film I know of that does this is Wasting Away. It's a nice twist, and makes the film rather fresh in a bit of an overcrowded genre. It's also very, very funny, which is another big plus. McKiddy and Kidder are both terrific in the lead roles, fleshing out their characters and bring a sort of Hope and Croby "Road To ..." feel to the piece. They're created a couple of characters that the audience comes to care about, which is a pretty tricky thing to do in a zombie flick. Also wonderful is Taylor as Cheese, a hulking, mindless normal zombie who the guys team up with. There's plenty of gore and gross-out humour, plus a nice rom-com undercurrent that keeps it all rather sweet. It does sag a little in the middle, but that's a minor quibble – Deadheads is a fine addition to a genre that is in need of some fresh, original ideas, and and is sure to find itself becoming a cult classic. It's a perfect slacker comedy. With zombies.
SECOND OPINION | Stuart Barr ?? A horror comedy with the emphasis firmly on comedy, Deadheads is the simple story of Mike and his efforts to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Mike is aided and hindered in his amorous quest by his friend Brent. The twist in the tale is that both of them are zombies, although some type of experimentation means that Mike and Brent are fully concious, talkative individuals who still drink beer (although they do like their hamburger tartare). In its favour, Deadheads is a low budget film that doesn’t look totally horrible, and the Pierce brothers know what to do with a camera. However, on the downside the film is painfully unfunny and totally lacking in scares or suspense. While the gore level is only moderate at best, it will be offputting enough for a general audience while the lack of fidelity to the zombie genre (talking zombies?) will offend horror purists.