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Dead & Breakfast (2004)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
Genres:
Comedy, Creature Film, Horror, Horror Comedy, Zombie Film
Director:
Matthew Leutwyler Matthew Leutwyler
Starring:
Jeremy Sisto Jeremy Sisto
Erik Palladino Erik Palladino
Bianca Lawson Bianca Lawson
Oz Perkins Oz Perkins
Ever Carradine Ever Carradine
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> movies
> Zombie Classics

6.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: June 09, 2005
Six kids are driving to Galveston, Texas by way of RV in order to attend a friends wedding when they get side-tracked in the small town of Lovelock. Rounding out this group is driver-geek Johnny (Oz Perkins), Sara (Ever Carradine), the "cool" guy Christian (Jeremy Sisto), constantly-drunk David (Erik Palladino), vegan Melody (Gina Philips), and bridesmaid-to-be Kate (Bianca Lawson). So the group has wound up in Lovelock in order to get some gas, and during this time they meet two people - gas-station attendant Randall Keith Randall (Zach Selwyn) and a mysterious drifter (Brent David Fraser). The drifter simply bums a smoke off of Christian, while Randall suggests that the group stay the night at the local bed and breakfast run by Mr. Wise (David Carradine). The group agrees that this is a good idea, so it's off to the house they go. Upon arriving at the house, they meet the eccentric Mr. Wise himself, and they also meet his annoying French house-keeper Henri (Diedrich Bader). The two certainly make an odd couple, but the group decides to settle down for the evening and finish their journey in the morning. The problem arises when David goes down to the kitchen in the middle of the night for a slice of pie and finds a knife sticking out of Henri's throat. To make matters worse, Mr. Wise suddenly drops dead of a heart attack. Needless to say, the town Sheriff (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Deputy Enus (Mark Kelly) suspect that these kids are responsible for the murders, so they take away the keys to their RV and order them to stay put until this mess is sorted out. The wedding is going to be missed, the Sheriff suspects them of murder, and they're stuck in this small redneck town... but things get a whole lot worse when they come across a magical box inside of the house. Upon opening the box, something happens (omitted so as not to spoil it) that causes nearly the entire town to turn into zombies.

Imagine, if you will, combining the blood-soaked horror-comedy style of Dead Alive with the musical-comedy style of Cannibal! The Musical. This combination would result in something similar to Dead & Breakfast. While the movie is a horror film at the root of things, it's chock-full of comedy aspects, and the musical side of things comes in courtesy of singing narrator Randall Keith Randall. The horror comedy genre is something that's been done many times over and rarely works, but it does work out excellently here. The reason why it rarely works in other films is very simple - either the horror aspect isn't there, or the comedy elements just aren't funny. If you try to put both in one film and only one side of it works out nicely, the failing aspect tends to drag the movie as a whole down. Thankfully, both sides are pulled off with ease in this feature film.

Horror fans will not be disappointed. The movie is chock-full of scares, and has enough gore to satisfy even the most blood-thirsty gorehounds. There's one scene in particular that manages to give the aforementioned Dead Alive a run for its money in terms of the most realistic on-screen gore packed into one scene, something that is certainly no small feat as those who have seen Dead Alive can attest to. However, it's the comedy side of things that really makes the movie a soon-to-be cult classic. Narrator / singer / zombie Randall has some extremely funny songs to sing that keep the movie rolling along, while the main characters are all quite good in their roles and more than eager to drop a joke even in the most dire of situations. If that wasn't enough... well, have you ever seen a pack of zombies suddenly break into a country hoe-down while a zombie band performs the music? Neither had I, until watching this film.

All of these aspects make for a potentially good film, but the performances from the cast can certainly bring the quality down a bit. Once again, the movie excels in that department. Have you, dear viewer, ever seen a film in which most of the cast is average enough, but there's that one particular person who manages to steal every scene that they're involved with? That pretty much applies here... except that the "average" people are great, and the scene-stealer is beyond excellent... oh, and there's about five of those scene-stealers running around. My jaw was on the floor at seeing the sheer amount of talent going on here, and each person was given ample time to shine. David Carradine (of Kill Bill fame) plays the mysterious inn-keeper to perfection, while Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show, Office Space) makes for some of the funniest scenes in the movie. Add in a few other guys (and one gal) who do just as well, keep in mind that the rest of the cast certainly doesn't lack on the acting side of things, and it becomes pretty apparent that these performances make the movie just that much better.

If you're a fan of horror comedy in the vein of Dead Alive or Evil Dead 2, this is a must-see when Anchor Bay finally gets around to releasing it. It's been doing the festival rounds for over a year now, and as of this writing, there's no theatrical / video release date set. But whenever it does get a release in some shape or form, check this one out. 9/10.
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: August 11, 2005
Watching a horror film is fun, but watching a horror film at a film festival with hundreds of other film geeks is a feeling that cannot be described with words. Last year, the Sidewalk Film Festival offered very little in terms of the horror genre, with the exception of a useless local horror flick that makes Full Moon Entertainment releases seem like 1955 MGM gold. This year, two horrors films were two of the main attractions at the festival. The locally produced "Hide & Creep" kick-started the festival on Thursday night, but offered little in terms of scares and more of an 'amateur hour' feel than anything else. It was up to "Dead & Breakfast" to save the horror genre from another flaccid year at the festival. And, oh, how "Dead & Breakfast" succeeded.

Whereas "Hide & Creep" disrespected the horror genre, "Dead & Breakfast" paid homage to it. The entire plot of the film is vintage horror -- six friends on a road trip stop for the night in a sleepy little town. In this case, the town is Lovelock, and their location is the local bed and breakfast, owned by creepy old Mr. Wise (David Carradine), and supplied with food by Chef Henri (Diedrich Bader). When both of their caretakers die, the six young friends become key witnesses and are forced to stay in town, and just in time for all of the townspeople to become possessed by evil spirits and start brutally slaughtering everyone in their path. And, during their merciless rampage, they find time for a little song and dance number, a hellspun ho-down, if you will. Imagine "Thriller" meets "Hee-Haw", and this will all make sense to you.

Directed Matthew Leutwyler got everything right here. The humor is timed perfectly. This is more humorous than "Evil Dead", but not so much that some parts don't manage to remain a little creepy. Take for instance the very first murder in the film -- that is the kind of unflinching murder that has been missing from horror films of late -- straight forward and hard core. The gore is adequate and brilliant. The make-up effects are some of the best I have ever seen, especially when Erik Palladino is dancing around with a chainsaw grinding into his neck, or when the top half of a zombie's head is removed. The combination of humor, gore, and good old fashioned horror movie gloss make "Dead & Breakfast" one of the best horror films of recent memory.

And, I know what a lot of you are thinking: (01) Another zombie film? Well, this is not your typical zombie film. Most zombies do not break out into song and dance. Most zombies are not able to speak normally and make wisecracks at their victims. In "Dead & Breakfast", the zombies are given those abilities; (02) Horror films are not suppose to be funny. Bullshit. "Evil Dead" was a horror/comedy; so was "House". Just because a horror film makes you laugh, that does not mean that film cannot make others jump or startle. "Dead & Breakfast" pays tribute to the greatest cinematic genre of all-time, and does so with the respect and admiration missing from most other attempts; (03) I bet this is just another straight to video dud. Wrong. This cast would prove otherwise: Jeremy Sisto, Erik Palladino, Bianca Lawson, Diedrich Bader, Portia de Rossi, and David Carradine. Now, that is not a typical straight to video cast. And these are not typical straight to video make-up effects.

With subtle horror films like "Open Water" stirring all the buzz, and mainstream horror films like "Alien Vs. Predator" and "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" hitting rock bottom, it was refreshing to see a straight laced horror flick like "Dead & Breakfast". The audience was laughing and making those disgusted 'ugh' sounds throughout the entire film -- now, that is what makes a good horror film. If this does bypass a wide theatrical release and go directly to video and DVD, you will not find a better film on the shelves...at least not one quite so entertaining. This was as gory and unconventional as they come, and that's why I loved it. Mark my words -- horror films will remember "Dead & Breakfast" for years and years to come. 9/10.
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Symx #1: Symx - added 06/15/2005, 03:15 AM
The name of this movie is hilarious
Cryptorchild #2: Cryptorchild - added 09/22/2005, 02:59 PM
When I first saw this, I thought it was another cheap zombie flick but I rented it anyway. When I watched it, I fell in love with it right away. The comedy isn't piled on too heavy but just in the right places. The storyline is cool and the acting isn't all cheesy. And the gore...it has plenty of that. And the narrator of sort (a local country singer starring in the movie) is the icing on the cake. Needless to say, I bought the movie the very next day after watching. It's really nice to see a great horror/comedy zombie flick. So this was a breath of fresh air.
George Snow #3: George Snow - added 10/14/2008, 12:22 AM
I really thought this was going to suck. It was FUNNY, and how many of them went on to bigger and better things?
Lucid Dreams #4: Lucid Dreams - added 04/17/2010, 12:55 AM
Why does my favorite character always die in movies? 9/10
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