Zombeavers (2015) has been unleashed (in the U.S.) at last! My anticipation for this low-budget horror/comedy is, I think, similar to the way normal people feel about the upcoming release of the mega-budgeted action/thriller The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015. Zombeavers is my summer blockbuster!
So, was Zombeavers worth the wait? Well, yes. Mostly. Zombeavers is an entertaining horror/comedy that parodies zombie movies, Syfy’s hybrid creature features and nature-run-amok films (including a very funny nod to the 1975 classic Jaws). It’s a fun diversion that delivers plenty of boobies, bikinis and undies (all courtesy of attractive young women), as well as more sexual innuendo than you can slap a beaver’s tail at! Zombeavers is really nothing more than just a good B-movie. However, I love good B-movies – and I loved this funny, cleverly-titled B(eaver)-movie!
Or is it actually an allegory against defining women solely by their, umm, “parts”? Probably not.
Sorority sisters Jenn (Lexi Atkins), Mary (Rachel Melvin) and Zoe (Cortney Palm) plan to spend the weekend at Mary’s cousin’s remote cabin by a small lake to cheer up dispirited Jenn who found out, via social media, that her boyfriend Sam (Hutch Dano) recently cheated on her. Cortney Palm is definitely my favorite of the three leads. She is just delightful as uninhibited Zoe, delivering sarcastic asides with a slight Southern accent that is so adorable! Sure, Zoe is the only one of the three girls who goes topless (and looks great!), but Cortney Palm pulls your gaze up when she speaks. Palm, by the way, was also topless in the best kill scene in the Christmas slasher film Silent Night (2012). She played Maria, a softcore porn site model, who flees, topless, from a homicidal Santa with an axe onto a Christmas tree lot. Santa sends the axe flying and it severs Maria’s left leg. Then, he picks her up and slowly pushes her, screaming, into a wood chipper! Anyway …
After arriving and meeting the neighbors, Winston and Myrna Gregerson (Brent Briscoe and Phylis Katz), the girls decide to take a dip in the lake. Zoe, of course, decides to swim topless. Soon, Jenn spots a beaver dam across the lake. “I wanna see a beaver,” she says. “They’re so adorable,” she adds. “Well, all I know is they’re fat rats with big, stupid-ass teeth,” Zoe retorts. They check it out, but find no beavers. However, they do find Smyth (Rex Linn), a local hunter. “What brings you across the lake?” he wonders. “We were looking for beavers,” Jenn tells him. “Well, hell, ain’t we all?” he quips. The beavers are gone because, in the prologue, a pair of inept truck drivers (comedian Bill Burr and singer John Mayer) accidentally dropped a barrel of medical waste in the lake when they hit a deer. Now, I may be in the minority here, but Burr and Mayer are painfully unfunny in this movie.
Later that night, Zoe’s boyfriend Buck (Peter Gilroy), Mary’s boy friend Tommy (Jake Weary) and Jenn’s soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend Sam show up at the cabin unexpectedly to everyone but Zoe. “Mary, please, my dick’s asleep,” Buck tells Mary, begging her to let them stay since he hasn’t had sex in 36 hours. Mary gives in after Jenn says it’s OK. Later, Jenn decides to take a shower while the other couples are having sex, but is attacked by a beaver in the bathroom. Tommy kills the rodent with a baseball bat. “I’ve never seen a real beaver before up close, so…” Tommy says after Mary wonders if it was rabid. “Yeah, me neither,” Buck concurs. “Well, maybe you should trying going down on me once in a while, Buck,” Zoe quips.
The next day, while swimming in the lake, Buck is attacked by a beaver and his foot is severed. “Get out of the water!” Jenn screams, standing on the shore, as the camera quickly pans closer to her in a nod to Jaws. Her friends panic and rush to the raft in the lake as more beavers appear, while Jenn rushes back to the cabin to call for help but finds that the beavers have cut through through the phone lines. She is attacked by the beaver that Tommy supposedly killed the night before and ends up in this movie’s soon-to-be iconic scene where, in the kitchen, she pushes herself away from the zombeaver as it comes toward her, between her spread legs, before she drives a knife into its skull. You don’t have to be a genius to see the irony. Meanwhile, back at the raft, Sam sacrifices Zoe’s little dog Gosling so they can swim to shore and get to the cabin. The zombeavers besiege the house, Night of the Living Dead-style, as the students argue and discuss their options.
Tommy and Zoe decide to take Buck to the hospital in Mary’s car and get help for the others, while Jenn, Mary and Sam stay behind. Tommy and Zoe find that the zombeavers have blocked the road. “Suck a bag of dicks!” Tommy screams. Back at the cabin, Sam decides to board up the windows. “You do realize that the whole point of a beaver is that it fucking chomps wood?” Mary quips. After the zombeavers force a tree to fall on Tommy, Zoe meets up with Smyth and they, with Buck, hole up at the Gregerson’s cabin to wait for morning since beavers (and, presumably, zombeavers) are nocturnal; while Jenn, Mary and Sam stay right where they are. However, later that night, Mary learns the side effect of being bitten by a zombeaver when Jenn turns into a human-zombeaver hybrid and attacks her! Now, their fight for survival is going to be even harder as the zombeaver virus spreads! “I mean, really?” Zoe quips, after seeing a zombeaver-bear hybrid!
Zombeavers was directed by Jordan Rubin from a screenplay by Al Kaplan, Jordan Rubin and Jon Kaplan. The best part of this team’s feature, other than Cortney Palm, is the use of animatronics and puppets [courtesy of Creature Effects, Inc.] for the zombeavers instead of CGI. Sure, they look fake but this is a horror/comedy, and it works. I also love the song that plays over the closing credits. It’s a Nick Ocean-esque lounge ballad aptly titled “Zombeavers”, written by Jon and Al Kaplan and performed by Nick Amado [who sound uncannily like Frank Sinatra]. “Don’t board up the doorways / And windows, my friend / It won’t do any good / These furry brown bastards / Are fully equipped / And they’ll chew right through the wood!”
I expected a movie like Sharknado (2013) when I first heard about Zombeavers almost a year ago. Sharknado was a movie that, after I watched it for the first time, I just couldn’t wait to tell someone about the insanity that I had just witnessed. I didn’t get that urge after watching Zombeavers for the first time. I was kind of disappointed but, I think, I just expected too much from it. However, after I watched Zombeavers a second time, I was able to appreciate the film a whole lot more. And, I’m sure I’ll be watching it again soon.
Watch the trailer for Zombeavers [again!] here …