NOVEMBER 13, 2010
Until I consulted the IMDb, I had assumed that Dorm Of The Dead was the product of a first time filmmaker who up and decided to make a movie one day as a means of teaching himself how to do it. In other words, completely terrible, but forgivable. But writer/director/DP/etc Donald Farmer had actually helmed over twenty films prior to this, so there's no excuse for how terrible it is. He should know by now how to at least pace a goddamn kill scene by now.
I mean, seriously. Point for getting to the zombie carnage in the first scene, but why does it take the zombies 2-3 minutes to start biting the guy? He actually makes out with the two of them (because they're hot blond female zombies and he was just spurned by his girlfriend) for a while before they FINALLY decide to follow their zombie nature and try to eat him. And in this entire time he never questions why their faces are green (their bodies aren't, however - the zombie makeup ends at the neck). And it wouldn't even be as much of a problem if the following scene wasn't more of the same (an endless makeout session between two (non-zombie) women followed by a slow, uninteresting "attack"). Then nothing happens for a half hour or so of the 74 minute movie.
Well, TECHNICALLY 74 minutes. It's ACTUALLY only 64 minutes, with a long end credits sequence featuring yet another overlong makeout/zombie sequence, one that you can't even hear due to a faux Rob Zombie song playing over the entire thing at a higher volume than the actors' non-mic'd voices. If I had to guess, it would be a scene that they didn't know where to fit in (the film as a whole stinks of "make it up as we go along"-itis) so they just tossed it in as a sort of outtake. Once it concludes we get yet another cast credit roll, which means that each cast member is listed three times over the course of the film.
One of whom is Tiffany Shepis, who deserves better. As soon as I saw her name (which was after the opening scene) I knew it would be yet another movie where she was the only good thing about it. Does she not have an agent? Or is he/she the absolute worst at it in the business? Every now and then she pops up in something that's fun even when she's not on-screen (Basement Jack, Abominable), but most of her filmography is littered with this sort of drivel. Kudos to her for sticking around for most of the film to play one of the zombies (and even then she shines - snarling and drooling while the others stand around like statues), but she would have been wise to hightail it off the set as soon as her character died.
Besides her, the most entertaining the movie got (besides the abundance of female flesh; if you're the type who will enjoy a movie simply because it has a lot of breasts, you'll find this a very satisfying experience) was a scene with the "Dean" of the college where it takes place. It's just as terrible as the rest of the movie, but the "production value" and casting elevates it into something truly special. For starters, the actor playing the Dean seems to be younger than the girl playing his student, which just made it confusing. Plus, he's wearing a suit that doesn't fit him at all, and inexplicably has a map of Russia behind him in his office. It reminded me of a grade school project, with a 12 year old playing George Washington or whatever, albeit in a film that, at press time, costs 14.99 on Amazon.
And again, it's just so damn BORING. After those initial, not particularly exciting attacks, nothing happens for another 30 minutes (at least, it SEEMS - I was actually amazed that the movie was only 70 minutes long, it felt 2x that). And there's never any real escalation, the zombie attacks never amount to more than 3-4 zombies attacking one or two people. Plus it just ends abruptly (the ten minute "discrepancy" didn't help), with our heroine-by-default watching a newscast in which the reporter's cameraman just films his friend being bitten instead of helping or throwing his camera down and running for safety. Then some of the zombies get shot and it's over. OK.
Of course, if not for HMAD I wouldn't even have bothered watching more than 5 minutes of the thing. And even then, if I knew it was this sort of junk I wouldn't have bothered in the first place. That is why I wish Netflix would separate or at least tag these shot on consumer video disasters from the legitimate films. If you look at their "Zombie" offerings, you'll find this alongside legit stuff like Survival of the Dead and Zombieland. Obviously I wasn't expecting something on par with either of those, but it's impossible to tell a legitimate/decent DTV movie (Severed, for example, which is also in Netflix's instant selection) from this nonsense until you actually start it, and I'm proud of my "ability" to not give up on a movie once it becomes clear there's no hope for it. Then again, some of these "homegrown" movies are actually pretty good, like Return In Red, and if they were separated I'd probably never bother to look in that section and thus miss out on the rare gem.
I guess the only solution is for guys like Farmer to stop making such worthless shit (and wasting good titles).
What say you?