Awfully Good: Zombeavers
Director: Jordan Rubin
Stars: Rachel Melvin, Cortney Palm, John Mayer
A canister of bio-hazardous waste falls in to a beaver lodge, resulting in angry, unkillable, oversized rodents. Coincidentally, this happens around the same time a group of horny teenagers arrive at a nearby cabin. Huh...
It would be easy to screw up a movie called ZOMBEAVERS. Experience dictates the most likely course of action would be to turn it in to another SyFy Channel movie of the week, with a lazy script, D-list anchor actor and laughable CGI creatures. Thankfully, this isn't just a film resting on the laurels of a cheeky name.
Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.
The best evidence of this? All the zombeavers in ZOMBEAVERS are practical and they are glorious. The puppets are convincing enough to be both scary and funny and the result is a creature that's memorable for the right reasons. (I laugh just thinking of all the obviously human noises they make.) And the filmmakers cover all the things you want in a killer beaver flick: they chew down trees to drop on unsuspecting victims, use their flat tails to slap people around, and obviously maul many a face with their giant buck teeth. So suffice to say, this isn't a creature feature where you'll be let down by the title character.
Fans were angry at how the Leave It To Beaver movie strayed from the source material.
The rest of the movie borders on "trying too hard," but ZOMBEAVERS is still a good time for horror B-movie fans. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at (don't laugh) how smart the movie was. It manages to avoid or subvert most clichés and remain somewhat unpredictable throughout— definitely more CABIN IN THE WOODS than SHARKNADO. It's quite a feat for this genre, especially when it comes to modern horror characters. There are the standard players—the good girl protagonist, her nerdy friend, the promiscuous girl just there to have fun and show her boobs, as well as their male counterparts (my favorite being the horn dog boyfriend, who actually suggests having a "safety orgy" to protect themselves from the beavers)—but it's what the movie does with them that makes it special. You also get cameos from comedian Bill Burr and an unrecognizable but hilarious John Mayer to provide a tiny bit of star power.
The secret initiation ceremony to join the Foot Clan was predictable.
The plot follows the standard "cabin in the woods" setup, just subbing in rage-infected beavers for your typical slasher killer. There's a fun JAWS gag at the lake where the teens first encounter the toothy might of their new rodent enemies, but the majority of the movie takes place indoors with the teens under attack NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD-style. The zombeavers, smart as they are, chew through phone lines and build dams all around the house to cut everyone off from the outside world. Soon they have the brilliant idea to barricade the house… with wood. You can guess how this goes.
Man, the commercials for Invisalign keep getting more and more intense.
[Potential spoilers follow] In the final act, the title creatures wage a full-on assault. You have zombeavers falling from the ceilings, breaking through windows, and popping up through the floor for what is clearly the greatest game of Whack-A-Mole ever played. Hell, one beaver sets itself on fire so he can walk around the cabin and slowly burn it down. Around this time it's also revealed that beaver bites cause humans to turn in to zombeavers and the resulting human-beaver hybrids are a sight to behold. Two of the teens stop to have a formal discussion about whether or not their friend is permanently an undead rodent ("She's at least going to be on medication for the rest of her life...") and then predictably decide to have sex instead. Naturally, this leads to a scene that I will only describe as a "Beaver BJ," and it's exactly as unpleasant as it sounds.
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if wood was a euphemism for your horribly mangled penis?
There are a lot of random suprises that I don't want to spoil, but at an hour and ten minutes, ZOMBEAVERS is the perfect length to not overstay its welcome. It even closes with an original "Zombeavers" lounge song and a post-credits scene that teases a sequel I'm already buzzing about.
[hears a noise outside] "Hey serial killers! We've got three babes in here who haven't had sex in a reaaaaaallly long time…"
"I haven't had sex in 36 hours. You know when your foot's asleep? My dick's asleep. I've gotta wake it up. Please. Wake that dick up."
[after meeting a zombeaver for the first time]
"That was rabies?"
"Yeah, probably. Then again, I've never seen a real beaver up close."
"Well, maybe you should try going down on me once in a while."
"Guys, we could die tomorrow. This could be our last night. This may sound crazy, but we need to have an orgy. I'm not f*cking around. A safety orgy."
"Did you hear that?"
"Oh, it's just those kids scissoring each other to Lady Gaga."
"We cannot turn against each other right now. That's exactly what the beavers would want."
- Plenty of beaver carnage to enjoy, including a JAWS homage and a gnarly beaver vs baseball bat encounter
- One of the characters chops off a zombeaver's head and drags it outside to show off as a warning to its friends: "Is this what you want, you f*cks?"
- A zombeaver drops a tree on a guy
- The girls repeatedly stabbing zombeavers in the face with little jabs
- A guy discovering a dead body with a nonchalant "Okay…"
- Zombeaver Whack-A-mole
-The Beaver BJ
Here's a clip, courtesy of Arrow in the Head!
Take a shot or drink every time:
- A teen has sex
- A beaver joke or pun is made
- A zombeaver gets thrown or kicked
- A zombeaver destroy a means of communication
- A main character dies
Double shot if:
- A zombeaver commits arson