A scene from DeadheadsThe zombie comedy is a sub-genre with a variety of hits and misses. It’s likely Shaun of the Dead will long be the film to which all others are compared. But DeadHeads is a surprising success story, as the trailer did not put the film in the best light. Nonetheless, the first film of Toronto After Dark’s zombie appreciation night is a laugh-out-loud success.

Mike (Michael McKiddy) has awoken to a terrible nightmare: zombies are walking the Earth, groaning incoherently and eating the living. Scared and alone, Mike tries to avoid detection while seeking help. As he wanders through the woods, he runs into Brent (Ross Kidder), who is exceptionally excited to make Mike’s acquaintance – Mike is the first zombie Brent has encountered who is also able to talk. This is a realization Mike is unwilling to accept at first, until it becomes abundantly clear that he is indeed a member of the undead too. Together, they embark on a road trip to say goodbye to a lost love, unaware they’re also being pursued by ruthless agents determined to contain the outbreak.

It’s rare that zombies are given the ability to speak, let alone display any traits of intelligence. Director George Romero toyed with the idea of zombie’s retaining some brainpower in Day of the Dead, but it’s not often zombies are anything other than mindless creatures led by the basest of needs: hunger. In this way, DeadHeads strays from conventional zombie logic – but only for its two leads; the rest of the zombies are traditional, dim-witted monsters. Even so, the pair takes ‘Cheese’ (Markus Taylor), a less refined zombie under their wing in an attempt to civilize him.

A mixture of genres, the film is a buddy zombie comedy with a built-in love story. There is countless pop culture references, including a number of Transformers jokes – sadly, Brent was dead in the ground when the first film was released. The movie, to some extent, can be classified as a zombie chick flick. It’s cute and funny, usually without being too coarse. Their friendship is sincere, as is their determination to reunite Mike with his girlfriend. In addition, their care for Cheese is sweet as is his growing attachment to the buddy couple.

DeadHeads is an entertaining picture that would play very well to a larger audience with its broad humour and endearing characters, and is quite capable of holding its own if compared to other films of the same vein.

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