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article imageReview: ‘Zombeavers’ delivers on the name and then some Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 20, 2014 in Entertainment
‘Zombeavers’ is a laugh riot as the furry little woodland creatures develop a taste for flesh and attack of group of college kids vacationing at the lake. Hilarity ensues.
With a title like Zombeavers, expectations are generally confined to one thing: zombie beavers — lots of them. It’s not going to be the movie of the year or have award-winning anything, but as long as it delivers on the name it’s probably promised at least one thumbs up. The second recommendation relies on all the film’s other elements, which are actually surprisingly passable in this straight-up genre picture.
Jenn, Zoe and Mary (Lexi Atkins, Cortney Palm and Rachel Melvin) are sorority sisters on a girls-only weekend getaway to a cottage in the woods. Their boyfriends (Hutch Dano, Jake Weary and Peter Gilroy), however, have different plans and join the girls for a retreat filled with sex and debauchery. Their fun turns into a nightmare when a colony of undead beavers attack the group, trapping them in a wooden cabin with no hope of escape.
The film is bookended by two sequences involving a couple of incompetent transport drivers. In the opening scene, they accidentally cause the unnatural beasts. At the end, a similar incident has darkly comic consequences. The rest of the movie is a playful mash-up of the zombie and cabin-in-the-woods horror subgenres. Though smaller and furrier than the average walking dead, the beavers’ behaviour is still stereotypical as they cannibalize their victims and gather outside the hiding places of their prey.
The irony of aggressive beavers in the woods is not lost on filmmakers. With everything composed of logs, it’s not long before the eager beavers start chomping their way into the group’s shelter. As they take conventional steps towards securing the house, including boarding up the windows, a character points out the creatures’ pastime. An appropriately sarcastic response regarding the abundance of sheet metal available is provided.
On that note, the script is unexpectedly witty for this style of picture. The subject is approached with a great sense of humor that is both suitable for the film and incredibly enjoyable. Incorporating elements and dialogue typical of the genre in such an absurd rendering is a substantial source of amusement. “We can’t turn on each other — it’s what the beavers would want.” Some of the acting was subpar for the material, but it’s easy to look beyond their shortcomings to see the cleverness of the writing.
The beavers are crude puppets that don’t exactly inspire terror, but nonetheless complement the film’s approach. In the end, everything comes together to produce a movie that exceeds expectations by aiming to reach beyond the gimmick.
Zombeavers was a part of “zombie night” at the 2014 Toronto After Dark Film Festival.
Director: Jordan Rubin
Starring: Lexi Atkins, Hutch Dano and Rachel Melvin
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