Director – Jordan Rubin
Cast – Rachel Melvin, Cortney Palm, Lexi Atkins, Hutch Dano, Jake Weary, Peter Gilroy, Rex Linn, Brent Briscoe, Phyllis Katz, Robert R. Shafer, Bill Burr, John Mayer
Release Year – 2015
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Horror films about killer animals have their place, and have seen quite the variety. Killer grizzlies, great white sharks, killer whales, octopi, piranhas, anacondas, gorillas, alligators, birds, slugs, and even frogs have served as antagonists in the genre. Now we can add beavers to that list. When I first heard of this film I immediately bypassed it because I just wasn’t in the mood for a silly killer animal film. I typically prefer the more “serious” ones. Now that I have finally seen it I can say that I really feel like I was missing out this whole time. I knew not to go in with high expectations, but surprisingly enough, even if I had…my expectations would have been met. With lots of gore, live-action effects, and good laughs, Zombeavers succeeds at the film it wants to be.
Six friends expecting a weekend of debauchery at a riverside cabin instead face terror as a chemical spill turns to local beavers to undead fiends thirsting for flesh.
I can say that I just don’t tire of these stories where friends go out into the woods expecting a good time and instead find themselves being torn to pieces. Co-writer / director Jordan Rubin has a very comedy-driven past. He was a longtime writer for The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn as well as Last Call with Carson Daly, along with Crank Yankers and The Man Show. The story quickly establishes the origin on the undead beavers, as two hilarious numbskull cargo drivers (portrayed by comedian Bill Burr and musician John Mayer) are at fault for the hell that is to come. The first assumed beaver kill comes about 8 minutes, but it isn’t until the 27 minute mark that we get our first real look at the zombeavers. From then on out the horror never relents and the gore doesn’t stop flowing. Our characters are decently colorful and pretty funny, but that is all you need to know about them. This film is about beavers killing people. At 77 minutes in length little time is wasted on anything other than that, so those of you wanting an easy flick to watch will be pleased with this story.
Rubin’s direction is what really sold me on this. I was expecting the usual CGI used for low-budget killer animal films these days, but I was left wowed over how much practical effects were used. The beavers are live puppets and the aftermath they leave is covered in live gore. From amputations to face-ripping, nobody is safe and at times it feels like it’s raining blood. Is the film scary? Not so much “scary”, but there are plenty of scares for the viewer to enjoy. I would say that you can sense the scares coming, which definitely ups the tension. The acting performances are solid, and Rubin did a damn good job of casting and getting the actors to be funny as well. You can witness him working with them during the end-credit outtakes.
Overall, Zombeavers succeeds as a zany killer animal film with an unexpected antagonist. The gore is good and the horror is plentiful, so if you need some easy fun then give this a shot.