“THE WALKING DECEASED” (Film Review)Movies/TV,News,Reviews Ken W. Hanley
At this point, most horror fans have become jaded to the concept of the “horror spoof,” despite becoming jaded with most everything else in the landscape of contemporary horror. And, to be fair, one can’t blame them much: horror fans will frequently avoid spoofs like the plague due to weak and uninspired gags in the marketing, and even sometimes see these parodies as a sign of disrespect to the genre as the filmmakers don’t “understand” what makes horror work. But, as with any film this writer has covered, I approached THE WALKING DECEASED with an open mind, and in doing so, I discovered that not only was DECEASED respectful of its source material, but also genuinely funny.
That doesn’t mean DECEASED is a home run by any means: there’s of course the fair share of scatological humor and social media references (although there’s nothing like a well-timed Linkedin joke), and there’s a certain amount of reliance on the properties from which it’s based on, including an ill-advised SHAUN OF THE DEAD parody. But where DECEASED succeeds (and where other spoofs often fail) is that the film, despite its limited budget, builds upon these archetypes and situations, elevating these caricatures into actual characters. From there, both the comedy and splattery elements come organically, and THE WALKING DECEASED actually plays closer to a cohesive story as opposed to a shoddy assembly of beat-by-beat parodies.
Perhaps the secret to the DECEASED’s success comes from the talent behind the camera, considering the film bolsters some excellent production value and occasionally impressive SFX from something clearly at the lower end of the microbudget spectrum. Director Scott Dow and writer Tim Ogletree hold a balance between darker moments and sillier fare, but never forcibly wedge a parody into the equation; in fact, there are actually several moments that actively subvert what people may expect from a parody film in order to pursue a more earned laugh. And even Shaun Hart’s cinematography goes beyond the bare necessity of the spoof genre, occasionally adding visual flair and some interesting shots throughout THE WALKING DECEASED.
However, despite the spotty performance here and there, THE WALKING DECEASED also sports some impressively funny performances as well. Tim Ogletree and Joey Oglesby both elevate their obvious ZOMBIELAND spoofs by adding an authentic chemistry and comic timing to the proceedings. Likewise, Troy Ogletree, Sophia Taylor Ali and Jacqui Holland each bring their respectable comedy skills to the table as well, never hinging on any specific repeat gag or delivery. But THE WALKING DECEASED’s MVP goes to Dave Sheridan, whose spoof of Rick Grimes (aptly named Sheriff Lincoln) steals the show around every corner, encapsulating what makes Grimes so memorable and spinning it to mine some really hilarious moments.
While THE WALKING DECEASED has its problems, and there are many, the fact that the film achieves what it does on the scale that it did is impressive enough, let alone to make a spoof worth giving a chance. Will there be gags that fall flat? Sure, but a 60/40 hit-to-miss ratio is still miles above the studio-funded spoofs that wish they could be 40/60.