As the bastard child of Sam Raimi and Jim Henson, with more rodent based puns than should be legally allowed in a feature film, Zombeavers in the words of Frightfest organiser Ian Rattary ‘does what it says on the tin’. Your enjoyment of Zombeavers will perhaps lean towards your preferences for cinematic sleaze and b – movies as director Jordan Rubin’s pitches his tent in the camp of horror parody, a factor which undoubtedly made the film such a hit at Tribeca film festival.
The plot itself follows the classic formula of a group of teenage girls vacationing at a cabin in the woods looking to escape the corrosive influence of the boys in their life. That is, until the ‘LADS’ turn up uninvited hoping for sexy frat house tomfoolery. Little do they know however that a toxic waste barrel has been congealing in a nearby lake, transforming the local beaver population into rabid wraiths with a taste for human flesh. As the zombeavers gnaw through a traditional Night of the Living Dead house defense, block off the exits and go a little bit mental at night the characters must use their wits and band together to survive the night … most importantly without getting bitten.
While many Frightfest fans hated this movie it was personal guilty pleasure. Especially because of its deadpan farcical humor straight from the classic American Pie, manic puppetry and most importantly, its Richard Cheese styled credits theme song by Nick Amado recounting the movie plot through the most appropriate medium of big band swing / jazz. In a context of films like Sharknado 2 (2014) and Sci -fi channel programming, Zombeavers attempts to construct that golden producer paradigm of ‘so bad its good’ but with lines including an old man’s assessment of teen lifestyle as ‘scissoring to Lady Gaga’ it does seem to try a little hard at times.
However in the age of CG laced B – movies, seeing practical puppetry and gore effects is a godsend and while the trailer did unfortunately spoil some major plot twists, director Rubin takes anarchic pleasure in killing his characters off in increasingly creative ways and unpredictable orders. What bolsters the movie too is also a sense of genuineness, with the bloopers reel suggesting that everyone involved had a blast making it, even if they did have to regurgitate the never ending beaver based sexual innuendos pervading Al and Jon Kaplan’s script. As a trashy creature feature in every sense of the word, Zombeavers excels as a fur fuelled, laugh a minute movie expertly designed for the midnight matinee crowd. While it is intriguing to guess where the animal B – movie genre will be digging its claws next – A film called Squirrels is already in development – I’m holding out for a film on the dreaded Honeybadger.
Director: Jordan Rubin
Cast: Chad Anderson, Lexi Atkins, Brent Briscoe, Bill Burr, Cortney Palm
Runtime: 80 mins