Zombie Honeymoon

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When Danny and Denise go on their honeymoon a strange, ghoulish figure attacks Danny and a nightmare begins as the man starts to turn into something strange and ghoulish himself.

Honeymoon has such a nice ring to it these days, the term bringing to mind ideas of newly married couples celebrating the beginning of their marriage in exotic locales around the world. Truth be told it wasn’t always supposed to be such a happy term but more a snarky comment on the nature of love and how it can fade as time goes on like the waning of the moon. Sure the first month of marriage might be great and all, but then it usually just degenerates into screaming matches, angry stares, and thrown dishes, the one plus side being that after a few years of dodging various kitchenware you gain lightning fast ninja skills. Who needs years of training in a secret monastery hidden in the mountains when you can just spend some time dodging thrown objects during fights about who was supposed to take out the trash? Sure, you probably won’t learn the “Five Finger Death Attack,” “Buddha’s Palm,” or even a simple roundhouse kick, but you will be able to dodge those things, and that is what’s really important. This is why a married couple needs that first trip to get away from it all for a while and enjoy each other’s company, it’s to prepare your body for the rigors of learning to move faster than a dish can fly through the air, or a crockpot, crockpots are surprisingly fast when thrown at the facial area.

Our film begins with Danny and Denise rushing excitedly to their car to begin their honeymoon immediately after their wedding, so excitedly in fact that they forget to give their friends directions to where they are going, though I’m not sure why anyone wants friends around during a trip that is all about how often you can bone before exhaustion but to each their own. The couple arrive at their destination, do some exploration, and proceed to get to the boning. A little while later Danny decides to get some surfing in at the nearby beach and Denise relaxes with a little sketching. After the surfing is over Danny lays down next to his new bride in the sand and the pair drift off, but their slumber is disturbed when a zombie walks out of the surf and heads right toward our sleeping couple. The zombie falls on and attacks Danny, vomiting a black goo all over him before finally expiring. Danny is rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead upon arrival, but awakens only a short while later. He is allowed to go home the next day and appears to be healthy as can be. Appearances can be deceiving though and something is clearly wrong with Danny; this is proven when Denise comes home one day to find Danny munching on a dead guy in the bathtub and covered in blood. It seems that whatever the zombie from the surf vomited all over Danny has turned him into a zombie himself, and though Denise is terrified she cannot leave the man she loves, even as the disease progresses and Danny grows to be a threat to anyone in his path.

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{This is why I don’t go to the beach}

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for zombie flicks with a love story to them. I don’t know what it is about the zombie genre, but I think it works well with a love story added to it. Unfortunately, all too often the love story side of things is an afterthought and is handled in a poor and sappy way. Taken seriously it can be used in adding to the overall story with a commentary on how far people will go to keep those they love around them, regardless of the danger they may represent, but when it is done in a sappy, almost puppy dog love kind of way it comes across as cheesy. Don’t get me wrong, I love a cheesy zombie movie, I don’t much care for a cheesy romance. If I did I’d go rent one of the numerous “RomComs” as they’ve come to be known and I fucking hate those movies (also “RomCom” sounds like a disease doctors haven’t been able to cure yet, one you get when you have sex with a hamster with syphilis and I don’t even want to know how that works). Thankfully Zombie Honeymoon is neither sappy nor cheesy, but really goes in depth in delving into the love Danny and Denise shared and how far they would go in protecting that love. Using just one zombie instead of having an entire apocalypse was a smart move since it allowed the viewer to focus more on the interactions of zombified Danny and his new wife Denise. You don’t need to know where the disease came from or how this started or even if there are others in the world dealing with the same issue, this is a story about Danny and Denise and how they try to overcome the odds in order to remain together no matter what. The film balances the couple’s love for each other with the realization that there might not be anything they can do to prevent the eventual loss of their relationship, something that I believe any couple must go through, married or not.

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{Yes, that’s how I feel about “RomComs” as well}

Before I watch any film I’m going to review I tend to do a bit of research about said film before I watch it. This gives me things to look for as I watch and ideas to pay attention to. In researching Zombie Honeymoon I came across some info about the character of Danny representing the seven stages of grief, disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, and finally acceptance. However, I couldn’t find anything from director David Gebroe that said definitively that this was the case, so I can’t tell if this is more of a fan theory that someone put together or a definite thing. Either way I found it to be an interesting idea so I looked out for those stages as the film went on and I believe I’ve seen where that could be the case, though I found it to be represented not just in Danny, but in Denise as well. As the film goes on it seems that they were both going through the stages of grief. Both start out in utter shock and disbelief at what is happening, they both then deny that it’s possible, both become angry at the other at different points after their denial, I thought them trying desperately to get to Portugal (their dream) where they hoped they could find a cure resembled bargaining, afterward they both felt incredibly guilty (Danny for what he’d done, Denise for hiding it), they then become depressed (a near completely zombified Danny even shedding a tear), before they both finally come to accept the facts of what is happening and its conclusion. If it was Gebroe’s intention to explore the seven stages of grief with a zombie film then I would say he succeeded entirely.

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{Don’t you hate it when people forget to clean their body parts off of the bed}

Even a movie with a lot of heart and thought behind it can still fail miserably if it doesn’t have good characters, thankfully Zombie Honeymoon does. There are four main characters, the bitten Danny, his wife Denise, friends Nikki and Buddy, and Officer Carp. Though the focus is mainly Danny and Denise, those other three play a significant role in how the film turns out. They were all well written, not just in who they were but in their dialogue as well. The dialogue came across as very natural for the most part, just people responding to the various situations they found themselves a part of, whether that be a few friends sitting around shooting the shit or a wife coming home to find a partially eaten dead guy in her tub. Now, of course the more dramatic bits like Denise finding her husband going cannibal are going to be a bit more, umm, dramatic, but it never goes over the top in how the actors comes across. Anyone would freak out seeing something like that, and so does she (personally I would only care if they weren’t going to clean up after they were done but that’s just me). What I mean by it seeming natural is that nothing seemed forced or outlandish (Nicholas Cage punching old ladies in the face while in a bear suit a la Wickerman anyone). I think this is part well written dialogue and part talented actors. The actors chosen did a great job with their parts, dragging the audience into the movie and forcing you to care about their characters. Special acknowledgement must go to actors Tracy Coogan (Denise) and Graham Sibley (Danny) who were both phenomenal in their performances. I could have easily pictured the two of them as being a couple and truly loving each other. Denise’s heartbreak as she slowly loses the man she loves is gut wrenching, and I couldn’t help but feel for her. The zombified Danny’s transition to full zombie takes most of the film and he handles the gradual loss of his humanity perfectly. You could watch as more and more of who he was got chiseled away and the zombie side took over no matter how hard he fought. Sibley even put sandbags on his legs to help him perfect the zombie walk towards the end.

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{These two are absolutely perfect together}

Lastly there are the effects for the film. Don’t expect anything amazing but do expect a lot of blood, despite this not being a gore driven film. Normally I’m kind of disappointed when I watch a zombie flick that isn’t a full on menagerie of torn limbs, ripped out spleens, and enough gory carnage to fill the waterpark from Jaws 3 (my favorite of the series, don’t hate me), but I wasn’t in the slightest disappointed with it this time because the gore isn’t necessary for the film. Zombie Honeymoon is more story driven than most zombie flicks, so it didn’t need a ton of gore for the movie to work. It is at its heart a love story about a zombie and the woman who loves him, there wasn’t a need for a lot of gore. Now, just because I say don’t expect anything amazing doesn’t mean that what’s here is poorly executed. Danny gets his teeth into more than a few people and when he does the blood flows freely. Not only that, but the ripped out throats and torn out chunks of flesh were all done very well with practical effects instead of the usual laziness that leads to many films falling back on CGI.

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{That’s actually a small amount of blood compared to some of the scenes}

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{An example of the well done zombie makeup as well}

If you’re in the mood for something different, a zombie story with a little heart, than look no further, Zombie Honeymoon is the movie for you. Beyond being a great flick it has a killer psychobilly soundtrack, this zombie’s favorite type of music.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: David Gebroe (The Homeboy)

Starring: Tracy Coogan (Penance, Dark Woods), Graham Sibley (Robotropolis, Saving Lincoln), Tracy Cornelisse (Robotropolis, Lost Time), David M. Wallace (The Homeboy, Kejar Amerika), Neal Jones (Silent Predator, Dirty Dancing)

Released By: Hooligan Pictures, Sky Whisper Productions LLC, Glass Eye Pix

Release Year: 2014

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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