Sunday, October 16, 2011

DVD Review - George: A Zombie Intervention

Peter Stickles stars in this movie. Anyone who knows independent film will most likely recall Stickles from his performance in John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus. Fans of Stickles will no doubt also cite the TV series The Lair, a vampire show campier and more gay than True Blood.

Director J.T. Seaton's debut feature does have overt, gay, visual gags as when male model Matthew Stephen Herrick who plays a Mormon missionary named William has his ass become the interest of another male character, but it's not as if Seaton is going the total Alan Ball route in True Blood where the struggles of these horrific, supernatural beings are substitutes for the struggles of homosexuals.

George: A Zombie Intervention, as it opens, has its title card read George's Intervention, almost as if we're not supposed to know that George, the movie's possible antagonist, is himself a zombie. The prologue contradicts that, as it's actually a primer for what causes zombies that may be a better explanation than anything George A. Romero ever provided in over forty years, although later events challenge whatever science is laid down.

What you gather from forty years of Romero though is that zombies are cannibalistic, unreasonable monsters. Seaton's film wants to subvert that idea, or, it wants you to think it's subverting that idea for maybe a few minutes, but then tosses that subversion out the window.

Tonally and thematically, this movie matches wits with Fido (2006), a Canadian comedy that operated under the premise that zombies could be pets. This movie advances that premise a little and says zombies can be our next-door neighbors. Zombies in fact can be our friends. Except, that's not really the case because apparently all zombies have an addiction and that addiction is eating people.

George has that addiction. His best friend, Ben, knows it, so Ben organizes this intervention. Ben invites George's ex-girlfriend, Sarah, as well as George's sister, Francine. Sarah, unfortunately, brings along her current boyfriend, Steve, and Francine, also unfortunately, brings along an interventionist named Barbra to help facilitate things.

It's also unfortunately because Francine, despite claiming to be a professional, couldn't be more of an amateur. She needs to refer to note cards about intervention. She's more of a theater director than a trained doctor. Having seen real interventions, I can say that Barbra knows enough about how they work to sound half-way competent, but, being that she advertises through fliers on car windows doesn't inspire confidence.

Watching Barbra prepare them and then actually carry out the intervention is genuinely funny and somewhat hilarious, but it only accounts for the first 30 minutes of this movie. After that, the movie becomes very zany and increasingly moronic. It has its giggle moments, but, as a whole, it's mostly insular and repetitive.

Seaton's staging of the events in that house are all too awkward and flat. There's no sense of space. There's no way of knowing how big that house is. There's no camera angle that gives the area any kind of depth, which may be the point but it makes for a dull-looking film.

There's also an intentional misdirection that's quite misdirected. After the intervention, people start to get murdered in the house one by one, and the identity of the person who is doing the killing is kept hidden. Seaton wants to build some kind of mystery and suspense around this. At the same time, and this is a spoiler alert, he misdirects you into thinking it's George.

Yet, once we learn who the true killer is, the motive makes no sense or is to say the motive is non-existent. It only comes across as being very contrived. Carlos Larkin who plays George does some things at the end that also feel very contrived. He's all of a sudden scared of zombies even though he is one. If there is genuine fear there, it's never explained. It all simply becomes just cheap jokes and tons of blood and gore.

Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated But Contains Nudity and Bloody Violence.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 33 mins.

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