Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hide And Creep

I don’t often get a chance to review a movie made in my home state. Since you always want (semi)locals to do well, that puts added pressure on the hapless reviewer. I’m relieved to be able to say Hide and Creep has done Alabama proud.

It’s a slow day at Super Video in Thorsby, Alabama. All the zombie movies are rented, and Chris (Chris Hartsell), the store clerk, is arguing with customers about whether the Evil Dead movies can be considered zombie flicks (he’s right – they aren’t). The quiet is interrupted when the town comes under siege from – you guessed it – zombies. Even worse, the police chief’s out of town and his lone deputy got drunk and ended up with a girl in Panama City. Fortunately, it’s central Alabama, where guns outnumber people by a wide margin. Soon Chris, ex-deputy Chuck (Chuck Hartsell), and a group of gun nuts led by Ken (Ken McCracken) are taking the fight to those flesh-eating zombie bastards, with little help from the Homeland Security agent who parachutes into town. But they may have more trouble: Are aliens from space behind all this?

There have been a number of “zombedies” (zombie comedies) in the last few years, led by the classic Shaun of the Dead, and this is one of the better ones. The movie manages to hit the right balance of the comedic absurd and flesh-devouring mayhem. I do worry that people from other parts of the country will find some of the characters unbelievable. Being from here, I can tell you I know a real-life counterpart to every one of them.

The movie was reportedly made for $20,000, so it doesn’t exactly set the world on fire with dramatic special effects, but makes up for it with a well-written, witty script. Normally, in a movie with such a low budget, the acting is a major problem, but despite the limited credits of the cast, they acquit themselves very well. Speaking of the script, I was pleased to see the characters don’t need to waste any time being convinced there’s a zombie attack occurring. As soon as reanimated, decomposing corpses start showing up and eating brains, they know the score.

The movie is the work of Chance Shirley and Chuck Hartsell of Birmingham, through their Crewless Productions company. Anyone who likes zombie movies or redneck humor should give this one a try.

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