Tuesday, October 18, 2016

In short: Invasion of the Undead (2015)

aka The Neon Dead

When Allison (Marie Barker) encounters a zombie in the bathroom of her freshly inherited house, she follows the suggestion of an annoying girl scout to call in paranormal exterminators Desmond (Greg Garrison) and Jake (Dylan Schettina). Given that Desmond and Jake have day jobs in a combined video and grocery store (the USA are weird, and what’s a video store?) you wouldn’t expect them to be all that great at their other job.

But surprisingly enough, zombie number one is quickly dispatched. Unfortunately, Allison’s house has more than just a little zombie problem, for there’s a veritable invasion of the undead serving a demon certainly not called Xanax (it’s Z’athax, actually) who’d really rather like to achieve world domination, and it’s the all the fault of one of Allison’s black magician ancestors. Fortunately, Allison herself is tougher than expected and together with the paranormal investigators (well, one of them, and one paranormal investigator head) she just might be able to save the world. There’s also a “romance” involved, but let’s not talk about that.

Unlike a lot of indie horror comedies that bow before the altar of 80s and early 90s horror, Torey Haas’s Invasion of the Undead generally manages to hit the spot where things aren’t trapped in perpetual wackiness. That isn’t to say the film isn’t silly, but it’s silly in a personable and likeable way that seems to have little interest in being ironic about genre conventions nor in being completely random nor in doing that long drawn-out comedy style based on general awkwardness and a lack of punch lines I honestly don’t get. So, while I found myself not laughing uproariously at everything here, the film did provoke a series of little grins, smiles, and even chuckles, all packed into a very cute little 80s horror tale, the proper blue and red (and a little green) lighting, cheap yet fun special effects and performances that are mostly likeable.

It may sound like a strange sort of praise for a horror comedy, but Invasion is a pretty charming little film, sweet even in its bloodier jokes, and completely lacking in the cynicism more typical of horror comedies. If the film were a teenager, I’d call it a great kid and lend it some horror novels.

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