Title: A Cadaver Christmas
Distributor: Level 33 Entertainment
Director: Joe Zerull
Stars: Daniel Rairdin-Hale, Hanlon Smith-Dorsey, Yosh Hayashi
Length: 86 minutes
Sub-Genre: Zombie, Comedy
Plot: After a janitor (Rairdin-Hale) shows up at a local bar covered in blood, a rag-tag team of heroes is thrust into battle with a horde of “cadavers”. Can the janitor, the drunk (Smith-Dorsey), the bartender, the cop (Hayashi) and his perp work together to survive this Christmas Eve and save humanity?
Review: I love Christmas. Soon after Thanksgiving I’ll be the first to start breaking out the Christmas CDs and I won’t be tired of it until New Year’s. Freakish, huh? Because of this, I have a hard time getting into Horror films which are set on or around Christmas, put simply: it’s just too macabre for me. Tim Burton’s animated, A Nightmare Before Christmas, truly disturbs me. I’m also not huge on Horror Comedy. My point in all of this is that this film should be a perfect film for me to whole-heartedly despise. It starts off leaning that way. We open with a bartender and a single patron in a bar and the first exchange (albeit small) leaves me wondering what I had gotten myself into. Then something strange happens; a janitor covered in blood walks in and heads to the bathroom to wash the blood off, he does so, and then comes back out still dripping in blood and for whatever reason, I was hooked from that point on. This janitor looks like one of the pencil-necked and single brain-celled teachers on Disney and Nick shows which my daughter likes so much. However this janitor becomes the action hero of the film and is almost believable. In terms of acting Rairdin-Hale, who plays our kickass janitor, is clearly the standout, but nearly everyone plays their part to perfection. Soon we meet our bumbling cop type Sam Sheriff, that’s right -his last name is Sheriff- and he has to save the day by dragging the bar patrons back to the building in which the zombie (or cadaver) outbreak began. A female security guard joins the fray after a hilarious and useful side gag and then we’re ready for some serious mayhem. At times the film is nearly too silly to bear but it always works in its favor; it is reminiscent of a Monty Python film in ways. Touting a reported budget of only $7,000, A Cadaver Christmas looks damn good and I’ve seen films which cost over a hundred times more that look no better. For that budget the effects are more than adequate and the cinematography is solid. Let me say this about the writing; the stupider you can make a film and have it still work, the more intelligent the creators must be. That might be hard to grasp, but I believe it’s true nonetheless. The writers are very intelligent and aren’t just good at bringing laughter, they present some truly unique ideas. I don’t want to give anything away but I truly hope this creative team makes enough money on Cadaver to make a high-concept horror film one day, I think they have it in them. Kudos to everyone involved and to director Joe Zerulla, I may have found my first go to holiday horror film. Well done.
A Cadaver Christmas released on VOD and DVD October 4th. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwWQYWLb3MI