Directed by Matthew Leutwyler [Other horror films: Unearthed (2007), Uncanny (2015)]
This zombie comedy is a film that I’ve not seen in quite some time, and by “quite some time” I mean at least 12 years. I saw this one when I was between the ages of 11 and 15, if I had to guess, and I’ve only seen it once, so I was interested in revisiting it and seeing if I liked it any more than I did back then.
Unfortunately, my reasons for not really caring for it back then are still applicable to today – I find the film too silly to really get into, and while I sort of like some aspects (such as the special effects and idea of the lyrical segues and recaps), overall, there are far better zombie comedies out there, such as Shaun of the Dead, Last of the Living, and Doghouse (and of course, you could argue that this isn’t even a zombie movie, as these are more people being possessed by an evil spirit, but given the film is called Dead & Breakfast, I don’t personally feel all that guilty labeling it as such).
For a lower budget movie, the special effects are decent. It comes with it’s downsides, such as a scene in which blood splatters onto the camera (which is something I have always hated when it pops up in horror films), but from a purely technical standpoint, the gore effects here are impressive.
Even elements of the cast are decent. Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn, May, Population 436) was okay, though wasn’t that important. In a similar vein, Erik Palladino (of Return to House on Haunted Hill fame) was fine, but I never really cared for his character. I liked both Gina Philips (Jeepers Creepers) and Ever Carradine (who I recognized from Runaways), but I admit I’m sort of sick seeing David Carradine (who is Ever’s uncle, as it turns out) pop up in small roles. It just gets old.
For the most part, though, the central cast is stable, or at least unobtrusive enough as to not cause any problems. What bothered me more than a couple of uninteresting characters was the humor here. There might be a few funny lines, or an amusing scene, but overall, I thought a lot of the jokes here sort of fell flat. I also didn’t care, on a side-note, for the zombies dancing. Again, that felt more ridiculous than anything.
What was more grating than cute was those musical segments that recap the story (“But the only way to truly stop these drones is to dig up Mr. Wise’s bones / So that’s why the sheriff, drifter, and Melody took Doc down to the cemetery / To carve the bones into sharp stakes, one thrust to the heart is all it takes / Can’t kill them with guns and no strangulation, just good, old-fashioned decapitation”), and though maybe a couple of these peppered in would be okay, I just felt they popped in too often, especially given a whole song is sung during the credits which covered the whole of the movie.
Dead & Breakfast isn’t a terrible movie, and though I don’t often hear people talk about it, it does sport a perfectly decent rating on IMDb (5.8/10 with 5,784 votes as of this writing). It’s not my type of comedy, though, and overall, I just found the movie somewhat sluggish and wholly lackluster. I don’t think this is one that I’ll be looking to watch again anytime in the next twenty years, but some people out there will enjoy it just fine.