Dance Of The Dead (2008)

OCTOBER 13, 2008


Had I never seen Boy Eats Girl, Shaun Of The Dead, and/or Automaton Transfusion, I’d probably be singing the praises of Dance Of The Dead to anyone who would listen. It’s a fun film, with great zombie effects, a breakneck pace, and some engaging characters, but throughout the film I couldn’t help but feel like I had seen it all before; albeit not necessarily better or worse. Apparently the script was written ten years ago, so I can cut them some slack, but still: update the draft, maybe?

Like those other films (except Shaun), our heroes are high school kids, which makes me wish I had this movie 10-12 years ago (which is probably why I respond so favorably to Shaun – he’s a late 20s guy who wants to sit around and play video games), and despite being all unknown, they are all great in their respective roles. Chandler Darby in particular is fantastic. His character arc is slightly less generic than that of Jared Kusnitz (the actual lead), and he also delivers my favorite line in the film (I wont spoil the joke, but the out of context punchline is “I didn’t think of it like that.”). He also gets paired with the film’s cutest girl, so he wins on all fronts.

The zombie makeup and effects work is also pretty great. It’s not as gory as some other recent zombie films, but it delivers when necessary. It also has one of the best “rise from the graves” scenes in recent memory; rather than slowly crawl up, they sort of catapult out of their graves and hit the ground running. That it’s all presented in a massive tracking shot is all the more impressive; this clearly was not a film with a huge budget, and to see such a great setpiece delivered with hardly any CG is highly laudable.

However, there is one thing about this scene that bugged me – why do all the zombies resurrect at the same time? Early on, during the day, we see the gravekeeper collecting assorted body parts, so it’s obvious that whatever is causing them to return to life is already in place, but they apparently all wait until night, when our heroes have all converged nearby. It’s a goofy movie, and thus you gotta suspend disbelief and all that, but this was still distracting to me.

Not sure when they filmed this, but I would guess it was at LEAST later than Shaun, so I wish they had done something a little different than the same sort of “slacker guy learns to stand up and do something with his life via killing zombies” scenario, and maybe were a little more selective with the dumb humor (“I don’t know how to fire a machete!” – worst line in zomcom history), but you can’t deny the film’s energy. It’s a shame that it’s going DTV; it’s definitely a crowd pleasing film that will benefit from a large group of folks laughing and cheering. Rent it with friends!

What say you?


  1. Great movie! What makes this original is the fact that the script was penned in 1998.

  2. Looking forward to seeing this - expecting it this week from netflix. I seriously considered buying this and a couple of other movies from this set, but after last year's Horrorfest (bought all 8 sight unseen)... Planning to watch all 8 and buy the ones I like this time.

  3. The reason that all of the zombies resurrect at the same time is explained later in the sewers, when one of the character's say "the power plant. It must have finally reached it's boiling point."

    Are you joking? I love the line "I don't know how to shoot a machete!" That was classic!

    Believe it or not, I liked it a little better than Shaun.

  4. I watched DANCE OF THE DEAD tonight, having heard a lot of good things about it, but man am I tired of zombie movies. I loved DANCE's characters and humor, but I really wish the horror element -- if there had to be one -- was something other than zombies. I will warily check out Romero's UNTITLED OF THE DEAD this fall, but I'm done with zombies for maybe years afterward. Kudos to the DANCE filmmakers for really getting a lot of character stuff right, but I would have rather seen this as a high school comedy with no horror element at all if they weren't going to bring much new to the table, zombie-wise. The corpses shooting skyward out of the graves was pretty swell, though.


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