PLOT: Poor Jimmy (Jared Kusnitz) has a got a lot to deal with this prom season. His teachers all hate him, he's preyed on by the school bully, and his girlfriend has just dumped him for some douche from the student union. Oh yeah- and zombies have risen from the grave, and are quickly over-running his small town. Man- prom sucks!
REVIEW: High school. Prom night. Zombies. You know- stuff we can all relate to...
Suffice to say- I had a blast watching DANCE OF THE DEAD. I for one, am still haunted by my high school prom from way back in 1999. Ah yes- the world was a different place then folks. Y2K was on the horizon (remember that one?), Mel Gibson & Tom Cruise were still sane, and everyone was looking forward to STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE- which we all just knew would be the greatest film of all time (oh- how naive we were). I found my prom to be a terrifying experience, and all I had to deal with were a couple of zits, and the fact that I was dateless (boo-hoo). I can only imagine what the night would have been like if zombies had run amuck!
The thing that surprised me most about this film was that it took Hollywood this long to do a zombie/prom night film. I can't believe no one thought of this before! In many ways, DANCE OF THE DEAD reminded me most of those old Fred Dekker comedy/horror flicks from the eighties, like NIGHT OF THE CREEPS & THE MONSTER SQUAD. Basically, it's a comedy- albeit an extremely gory one.
What really makes the film work for me is the cast- especially lead actor Jared Kusnitz, who I'd never heard of prior to this film. He does a great job as our smart ass hero, and in many ways he reminds me of a young John Cusack- circa THE SURE THING & BETTER OFF DEAD. I also really liked Mark Oliver as the school coach- who becomes a massive bad ass a la Ken Foree in DAWN OF THE DEAD once the shit hits the fan. There's also a great recurring gag centered around the school's stoner band- who are able to repel the zombie horde through the power of rock!
Supposedly, DANCE OF THE DEAD is headed straight to DVD sometime in October- which is too bad. If the distributor spent a few bucks on improving the SFX, and maybe gave the film a hipper soundtrack- I'd be willing to bet that they'd have a sleeper on their hands.