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Saturday, 24 March 2018

Retro Review: Dead & Breakfast (2004)

Dead and Breakfast
Cast: Jeremy Susto, Erik Palladino, Bianca Lawson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Genre: Musical Horror Comedy

'Zom-Com That Improves As It Goes On'

Low- budget horror film made in the region of under $1 million, Bed and Breakfast is in a similar vein to 2004's Shaun of the Dead as a light-hearted zombie comedy. Only this time, it is a tad more oddball-ish and it is set in a small Southern redneck town as opposed to the British countryside. Although Zombieland is heralded as the U.S's Shaun of the Dead, watching Dead & Breakfast, this one bears more of a resemblance to the cult Brit classic than the former. Whilst Shaun is subtle, breezy and carefree in its British take on the zom-com formula, Dead & Breakfast goes for the broad & no- holds -barred approach. 

A group of young 20-somethings travel to a Southern town and stay in a B&B owned by a guy played by David Carradine, where an evil spirit is accidentally unleashed from an ancient box. 

The first half starts off incredibly slow and was nothing that good to shout about and unlike Shaun of the Dead, it takes a while for the characters to kick into gear and develop from there onwards. Although character development is moot. The story drags and it was only until the kills and characters were killed off, one by one, that Dead & Breakfast warmed up. The cast struggles to make an impression, which isn't aided by a sub-par script, along with an absence of characterisation. Yet in one of the main stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, he gives a solid turn & showcases more of his light-hearted side and he does well with the material. I liked his character more than the young - uns, who were bland and nothing characters. Although there is an odd twist towards the end that was unexpected, whilst the humour here doesn't work most of the time.

There is also a strange appearance of a rapping narrator that is supposed to be amusing and though it is light-hearted in its intention, it can be grating. There was also a dance routine scene with the zombie-dancing residents like it was a reenactment of the famous scene from the Michael Jackson Thriller music video.    

The most notable faces from the film are Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Diedrich Bader (Beverly Hillbillies), David Carradine of Kung Fu, Ally McBeal's Portia De Rossi & Erik Palladino of ER as the boorish David and the gory scenes can be a little squeamish for some people, although I could get through it and it is gorier and bloodier than Shaun of the Dead. For a horror film, Dead & Breakfast doesn't skimp on or dumb down on the blood and yes, it's silly and dumb, but that is what a horror comedy is for and if you can accept this, you'll be into it. 

Final Verdict

If you enjoyed Shaun of the dead, you'll like this one, although, in my eyes, it not as witty, knowledgeable and inventive as that film. I'll probably enjoy Dead & Breakfast more on several viewings, however, & so it deserves a rewatch for me. 


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