"Holiday Of The Dead"
Directed By: Mark Berryman
Written By: Mark Berryman & Michael Shands
Screenplay: Mike LosQuandro
The zombie subgenre has been done to death. Sub-par examples can be found at every budget level, the success of "The Walking Dead" on television has been both a boon and a detriment, George Romero has been slipping lately, and so many people have made cheap, half-assed attempts at mining genre gold that many fans feel that there's no life left in the shambling dead. Enter director Mark Berryman and his merry band of miscreants.
Rather than do anything Earth shattering, or trying to make a "game changer" and falling flat, the guys at Final Warning Films just had fun with it, and, as a viewer, that fun is as infectious as the "vaccinations" that are the root of the problem in happy Holiday Falls.
"Holiday" opens with a gleefully expletive filled narrative setting up the viewer for the inevitable "zombie apocalypse" that is the staple of the zombie film. The nefarious Hinz-Howard Pharmaceutical company, headed by the mysterious company spokesman (Patrick Turner), is offering free flu shots to the populace, and said shots have the expected side effects.
Oblivious to all of this are a group of co-eds on a camping trip (Cassandra Dailey, Chris Gonzales, Mark Zurek, Kristen Brancaccio, and Becky Carolan), but the campers are soon hip to the situation, and are guided in their fight for survival by a "black-ops operative" (who is also a survivor of the previous European outbreak, played by Tyrell Andrews) and the hard ass campground manager Herb West (a nod to Lovecraft played by Mark "Madcat" Capone).
Much hilarity and bloodshed ensues, as the viewer is treated to images of undead kids raiding an ice cream truck, fat zombies feasting on children, and even some Romero style "justice" at the end. Tiffany Shepis also pops up as the very busy sheriff, and the young cast melds well in terms of humor, chemistry and acting skills (particularly Brancaccio).
Overall, "Holiday of the Dead" never takes itself too seriously, and is more fun than most of the recent glut of "of the Dead" films out there. Sure the films suffers at points because of budget constraints, and nobody here is going to win an Oscar for the film, but it's heart is in the right place, so it comes off as a genuine, fun, entertaining little film that just may prolong the death rattle of a tired sub-genre.
--Scream King Tom