Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I gotta tell you that I really enjoyed Atlanta based filmmaker Gregg Bishop’s last film ‘The Other Side’ which proved once and for all, at least far as I’m concerned, that not having any money is no excuse for making a bad movie. All you need is little talent, a little moxie, some decent time management skills and access to people who can halfway deliver a believable line of dialog and you are on your way. So off what I hope was the success of that film, because it certainly deserved to be successful, we have Mr. Bishop’s next movie with ‘Dance of the Dead’. Yeah, we probably don’t need another zombie flick with word ‘dead’ in the title but this is Gregg Bishop here and I’m anxious to see what the man can come up with a few extra dollars to work with. Well the result was good enough I suppose and though it is a completely different movie from ‘The Other Side’ I will admit I was more entertained by that cheap bargain basement movie than the ZomCom we just saw.

So in this little town with the billowing nuclear reactors it is prom night. Lindsey, (Greyson Chadwick), who is the school vice president, is at wits end doing her darndest to make sure the day comes off without a hitch, but she his getting very little help from her jerk of a wisecracking boyfriend Jimmy (Jared Kusnitz) who doesn’t seem to take the girl all that seriously. There are other folks of interest in this high school such as the squad of geeks led by chief geek Steven (Chandler Darby) who would has a terrible crush on Gwen the cheerleader (Carissa Capobianco) which generally never works out well for geeks in any universe.

Unfortunately for this little town, that nuclear reactor has a leak or two of green sludge which has the unfortunate side effect of reanimating the dead, which always sucks. We don’t know why, and someone should seriously do a study on this, but the newly reanimated always hunger for human flesh. What is up with that? And why is Walking Deadism as passable contagion? I ask the hard questions people. Anyway, as it so happens, zombies are everywhere literally exploding out of the ground, and these zombies possess Carl Lewis like speed and can drive, but they do have a weakness for live cover bands in addition to having really soft heads.

The only hope for this towns survival are the geeks who couldn’t get a date, the wiseacre, his girlfriend, the cheerleader, the Jackass dude, the rock band and the psycho gym coach (Mark Oliver) with the plastic explosives in his garage. What they would like to do is stop the zombie onslaught before they reach the prom turning it into a zombie type Golden Corral, but in lieu of preventing that from happening… we do have some plastic explosives, and did I mention that these zombies have some really, really soft heads?

I should tell you that one of the reasons I had to make this movie a must see, aside from the Gregg Bishop factor, is that there are those out there in the community who have proclaimed ‘Dance of the Dead’ the best movie of 2008. We’re talking about a year that had ‘Cloverfied’, ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘The Wrestler’… All I’m just saying is that there are those out there who absolutely love this movie. Obviously. Now I would not be one of those people. I mean… it was okay… you know. It WAS the best high school based zombie comedy movie I’ve seen… ever… by far. I mean this movie crap all over ‘Night of the Living Dorks’, but the movie itself was just okay.

As a comedy it was marginally funny in spots with the funniest parts belonging to actor Blair Redford and his zombie mesmerizing band, but the comedic aspects, for me at least, took away from the best aspects of the movie, which was the zombie stuff. I liked how the zombies exploded from the ground, I dug how the zombies had soft heads and easily detachable limbs which they could be beat with, I enjoyed how this particular strain of zombieism was almost as virulent as the 28 days later strain with folks going from dead to zombie in mere seconds. What’s there not to like about that? Bishop and crew also added a few clever touches which certainly elevated this film above the glut of zombie flicks that get released on what seems to be a daily basis.

But overall, yeah, it was an okay movie. Maybe because I’m twenty years plus removed from my last prom and never really had a problem getting a date back then, and as such I wasn’t quite able to engulf myself in the pure ironic joy of watching the prom king get eaten by a zombie. The truth of the matter is my expectations were way too high for this movie, which had nothing to do with the filmmakers and pretty much everything to do with me and what I foolishly allowed myself to read before watching this movie. It’s an okay movie this ‘Dance of the Dead’, and I still look forward to seeing what Bishop will be putting out next, but this is still on the strength of what I saw with ‘The Other side’ as opposed to what I saw with ‘Dance of the Dead’.

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