October Horrorshow: Zombeavers

I can’t believe I watched this movie. Actually, I can. After all, I’ve never met a movie I wouldn’t watch — for at least fifteen minutes, anyway. But not only did I watch Zombeavers, I made it through all 77 minutes. Thank goodness for short runtimes. Are you paying attention, Peter Jackson?

Directed by Jordan Rubin from a script by Rubin, Al Kaplan, and Jon Kaplan, Zombeavers is very much tongue-in-cheek cinema. It’s not supposed to be a horror classic, and it’s not supposed to be all that scary. Rather, Zombeavers is another entry in the horror/comedy subgenre, which has been home to some of the best horror flicks in the last decade or so (the Scary Movie series notwithstanding). Zombeavers doesn’t measure up to something like Shaun of the Dead or Tucker & Dale vs Evil, but it’s still an honest effort at having some fun with horror.

Somewhere in rural America, a truck carrying toxic sludge loses some of its cargo, spraying its harmful contents over a colony of innocent beavers. It’s the start of a terrible chain of events that, by the end of the movie, will leave some people dead.

Meanwhile, three vapid, young college lasses, Zoe, Mary, and Jenn (Cortney Palm, Rachel Melvin, and Lexi Atkins), arrive at a lakeside cabin to spend a weekend away from their douchebag boyfriends. Later the boyfriends arrive, of course, and we out in the audience are treated to some short snippets in the lives of fancy-free and empty-headed college students. This was the best part of the film. Rubin and his cast played up the stereotypes of irresponsible young adulthood to aplomb.

It’s not long after this (77 minute runtime, remember?) that the evil zombie beavers show up to wreak havoc on the six heroes. The beavers are a real treat. There is some cheap CGI scattered here and there for blood effects and to mask out a severed limb, but the beavers are all practical effects. And by practical, I mean cheap. They’re puppets, clearly operated by some crewperson crouched on the other side of a piece of furniture or whatever else happened to be available. This movie couldn’t have had much of a budget, and it shows. Rubin and company were smart enough to know their limitations, so the look of the beavers is very much in tune with the general humor of the movie. In fact, the beavers are the best joke in the film. (I mean, of course, the puppets — not the stream of vagina jokes. Even the screenplay cut those off early on.) The first appearance by one of the beavers in its zombie regalia had me in guffaws.

There’s nothing great about Zombeavers. Rubin seemed to have a simple purpose in mind, which was to make a stupid low-budget horror flick that had some laughs and a decent amount of gratuitous nudity. That makes it a bit of a throwback to 1980s horror, now that I think of it. Silliness is paramount in this flick, and in that it succeeds. But that also makes it hard to judge the film. It’s clearly not all that good, but it’s not a putrid mess, either. Something like Sharknado is intentionally stupid, but it also has no redeeming qualities as a film, to the point that it is repellant. Zombeavers operates in a similar sphere, but at no point did it make me want to flee. I doubt I will ever watch this movie again, but I didn’t mind wasting a little over an hour of my life watching zombie beavers chew through some young people. It was fun.

Still, I have to give this one to Alien: Resurrection. That dog is a better movie than Zombeavers.