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Undead Or Alive (2007)

DVD Cover (Image Entertainment)
Genres:
Horror, Horror Comedy, Hybrid Western, Western, Zombie Film
Director:
Glasgow Phillips Glasgow Phillips
Starring:
Lew Alexander Lew Alexander
Todd Anderson Todd Anderson
Richard Barela Richard Barela
Matt Besser Matt Besser
Brett Brock Brett Brock

5.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Elmer Winslow is a soldier on the run from the Union Army, and Luke Budd is a cowboy with a broken heart. When the two misfits rob the corrupt sheriff of an old west town, they have no idea that a plague of zombies is sweeping the country, or that Geronimo's sexy niece may be their only hope of survival. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: January 08, 2009
The "zombedy" film has all but run its course - I think we can all agree on that. Mixing together comedy and the living dead has been done to death ever since Shaun of the Dead proved that it was a profitable formula, and while I'll readily admit that I've grown more than a little tired of the genre, I can't help but check out some of the new ones that hit store shelves. It's like driving by an accident: you just can't help but slow down and take a look. Undead or Alive is another one of these zombedy flicks, but it does bring something new to the table by taking this tried and true formula and sticking it in the wild west. So, what we have here is a western / zombie / comedy flick, starring that guy from Desperate Housewives and that other guy who made a name for himself on Saturday Night Live. A recipe for success or a surefire way to put together a disastrous movie? Online reviews will promise you both depending on which ones you read, but as for me... well...

It all begins with that famous Indian chief Geronimo, a fellow who is killed during the war by those blasted white men. Alright, the writers weren't exactly history buffs, but let's run with them on this. Before he succumbs to death, Geronimo places a curse on all of the white men on the planet, a curse that basically amounts to what we today know as a zombie infection. Most of the "rules" are still in place: it can only be spread by biting, it causes the host to have an insatiable taste for brains, and taking a cue from Return of the Living Dead, it allows the victims to still retain some semblance of rational thought and communication skills.

Moving forward in time a bit, we discover that the town of Dry Gulch is about to have a zombie epidemic on its hands thanks to this curse. You see, one of the town drunks (Brian Posehn) has been imprisoned for killing his wife and daughter before sucking their brains out, and naturally, he is set to hang for his crimes. The only problem is that even while in his cell awaiting execution, he still manages to bite the deputy (Chris Coppola), who in turn bites the sheriff (Matt Besser), who in turn... well, we've all seen zombie movies, and we know that this type of thing can ravage a town in mere hours.

Meanwhile, a pair of bandits - Elmer (James Denton) and Luke (Chris Kattan) - have just robbed the aforementioned sheriff and rode off into the night, and naturally, this doesn't sit too well with Sheriff Claypool. Claypool proceeds to round up a posse to track down those hooligans, but since the zombie virus is coursing through his veins, it doesn't take long before this posse turns into a zombie posse - a zombie posse that is "dead" set on capturing these two men. As you might imagine, the two make every effort to put as many miles between themselves and the flesh-eating bastards as possible, and helping them along the way is Sue (Navi Rawat), a lovely little Indian squaw. Of course, the trio soon realizes that the horse-riding zombies aren't the only undead in these here parts, so there escape will be a little trickier than originally anticipated.

I realize that it doesn't sound like much of a comedy on paper, but trust me when I say that this film falls more into the comedy genre than the horror. You've got zombies and you've got gore, yes, but what you're going to get the most of is those two cowboys bickering and arguing back and forth with one another in traditional "buddy film" format while trying to keep their brains inside their skulls. For my money, this worked; these two guys had a natural chemistry with one another and played off of each other perfectly, and the writing found within had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. However, I wasn't too happy with Navi Rawat, as - even though she was smoking hot in that Indian costume - I felt that she sort of dragged the comedy levels down a bit. She did provide one great scene (a discussion about Indian ancestry versus Caucasian ancestry) that was a highlight of the film, but other than that, she just didn't do much for me.

I was also pleasantly surprised with how the western aspect of the film was handled. Going into the film, I sort of expected this to be nothing more than a gimmick; I figured that they'd plop a cowboy hat on each of the character's heads, throw in some horses, and try to pass it off as a western. That was not the case, as this feels like a genuine western - a genuine western with zombies and comedy, but a genuine western nonetheless. There was some great work done in bringing this vision to the screen, and through a combination of wonderful sets, costumes, and actors who "got" what the filmmakers were aiming for, I feel that they made this rise above the crop of Shaun ripoffs that are littering shelves.

Bottom line, this is a film that is well worth your time if you're a fan of the walking dead, westerns, or just some damned funny comedy. You've got lovable characters, great writing, hilarious jokes, and a storyline that ties it all together nicely without ever getting bogged down. There's action, there's horror, there's gore, and yes, there's even a zombified saloon wench. It's not quite a perfect film, but it is damned close. 9/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 04/19/2009, 12:23 AM
9/10 is a little too generous, but this was surprisingly good. I didn't expect anything, finding this in the bargain bin and all, but I really enjoyed it. Among the funnier zombie comedies I've seen in the past few years.

7/10
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