Monday, January 5, 2009

The Mad

The Mad is one of a wave of recent “zomb-edies” (Shaun of the Dead, Dead and Breakfast, Undead), zombie movies that are comedies. Judging by this movie, the shallow wave may have petered out.

Billy Zane (who is actually quite good in his role) plays a widowed doctor who is on vacation with his new girlfriend, his teenage daughter, and her boyfriend. The daughter is one of those walking advertisements for abortion, whining and complaining about everything. The group stops for the night in a rural community in upstate New York, where everyone talks in a deep Southern accent, something I didn’t know about New York State. Unbeknownst to them, the local cattle farmer has been using additives in his cow feed that turn all that eat the beef into zombies (it also brings the beef itself to life, resulting in a number of cow patty attacks on the luckless humans). Together with the cook at the diner and his stepdaughter, they go through the usual routine of trying to stay alive and put an end to the zombie epidemic.

The movie tries a little too hard to be funny. Instead of emphasizing the inherently humorous aspects of the zombie genre, a la Shaun of the Dead, the jokes here are forced. The movie becomes increasingly slapstick as it goes along. And (Spoiler Alert!) I was very disappointed the whiney daughter doesn’t get eaten. As I said, I thought the now-bald Billy Zane did a good job, he’s just lost in the shuffle.

The one thing I did find amusingly, which won’t mean much to most viewers, is when the four survivors have a debate as to whether the enemies they are facing are really zombies, and what constitutes a true zombie, whether the creature in question must be dead or alive, whether it has to be dead first, etc., etc. What makes this funny to me is having seen the exact same debate on horror message boards.

Webnerd note: When this review was originally posted elsewhere, it briefly became one of the top referred sites for anyone googling the phrase "teenage abortion". Re-read the second paragraph to figure out why. This is funny to me.

No comments: