15 – 78mins – 2014
Much like schlocky Syfy fare such as Sharknado, Lavalantula and Megashark vs Crocosaurus, the title of co-writer/director Jordan Rubin’s film debut leaves you in no doubt as to the preposterous nonsense in store for horror-comedy fans who lodge Zombeavers in their DVD players. Sadly, even alert to the absurdities that awaited me and open to taking nothing seriously, I was still enormously dissatisfied with the moronic mutant madness which played out over a mercifully meagre runtime.
When a toxic canister is dislodged from a lorry and sprays the wooded riverside home of a colony of the semi-aquatic buck-toothed rodents, a weekend cabin getaway of drink and debauchery for a group of horny twentysomethings soon turns into a fight for their lives as the death-defying wood-chompers infect and ingest all invaders on their territory.
Zombeavers knows it is tripe – a sex-filled, gore-heavy ‘beer and pizza’ movie – so it immediately plays up its cheesiness by toying with the audience’s expectations of the genre. The film opens on two distracted truckers boasting about their recent conquests, which turn out to be same-sex unions! Sadly, such bare-faced inventiveness barely stretches beyond the first scene, and soon enough the plot-proper introduces us to three hard-to-like “biatches” who talk trash and can’t wait to get their tops off. Their “gnarly” boyfriends are even more intolerable and when the beavers start biting, you almost wish they’d hurry up and devour the entire cast!
Parody is dam hard to get right, and even though Zombeavers does admirably employ practical effects and animatronics in lieu of low-rate CGI, the lazy plot ultimately lets it down, frequently falling foul of the conventions it started out spoofing. Cabin In The Woods this ain’t! The undead nocturnal flesh-chompers look ridiculous, often so obviously cheap hand-puppets with non-moving paws that I was laughing at scenes which were meant to inspire revulsion!
One positive I will happily praise is the shock-factor of injured Jenn’s (Lexi Atkins) toothy transformation. This comes so late in proceedings that I was beginning to wonder whether these zombie beavers actually passed on their virus to their victims after all. The make-up and prosthetic work applaudingly strikes the perfect balance between grotesque and ludicrous – a balance the other 68 pre-credits minutes of this one-note extended trailer fail to nail.
CR@B’s Claw Score: