Dance Of The Dead (2008)

DVD Cover (Ghost House Underground)
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Ranked #3,759
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With Prom only hours away, the usual suspects of Cosa High (Cheerleaders, geeks, bad boys and the happy-go-lucky student council alike) are preoccupied with the annual rituals of teendom. On the night of the big dance when the dead unexpectedly rise to eat the living, polar opposite groups will be forced to unite in their final chance to save the town from the zombies. --TMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: July 16, 2008
Just when you thought the zombie well had been tapped, along comes "Dance of the Dead". Sure, there's not really anything utterly original about this film. It deals with the same zombie stereotypes as every other zombie film made in the last decade. It has the same kinds of characters as every other zombie film. What "Dance of the Dead" does, skillfully and masterfully, is make the genre more accessible to the teen set. Imagine "Night of the Creeps" meets "Return of the Living Dead", seasoned and flavored with a little John Hughes. Imagine scenes of bad ass zombie battles interrupted for cheesy dialog and "The Breakfast Club" life musings. That's what you get with "Dance of the Dead", which was recently picked up by Sam Raimi's Ghosthouse Pictures and will either see a theatrical release at some point, or a DVD release, much like "Dead & Breakfast" a few years back.

The film begins in...well...the graveyard. I won't give away the opening scene except to say it's definitely a new one for a zombie film. After that promising opening scene, we are almost immediately introduced to the colorful assortment of characters who will take us through this undead tale. First, we have Jimmy (Jared Kusnitz), the class clown who is constantly in detention for something. His girlfriend, Lindsey (Greyson Chadwick) has been planning and preparing the Hula Prom and is excited about it finally all coming together. Unfortunately, Jimmy is not the most romantic type and doesn't even have a corsage for her. Then, there's Steven (Chandler Darby), Jimmy's best friend and member of the Sci-Fi Club. He's in love with Gwen (Carissa Capobianco), but she wants to take rocker Nash (Blair Redford) to the prom instead. Eventually, the zombies bust out of their crypts and start eating as much of the town as possible, with the kids banding together to try and stop the attack. They are joined by the local bully, Kyle (Justin Welborn), as well as their phys-ed coach, Coach Keel (Mark Oliver).

The most astonishing thing about this low budget horror film is probably the sequence where the dead are quite literally flying out of their coffins, through the ground and into the open. All this takes place during one of the best chase sequences I have ever seen in a zombie film. "Dance of the Dead" quite easily features the best scenes of zombies leaving their underground homes of any zombie film ever made. Another equally impressive scene has Jimmy and Kyle doing battle with the undead with nothing but a pistol and a baseball bat. This is the type of well made gore that makes me proud to consider the horror genre my favorite. "Dance of the Dead" goes out of its way to show us one cool scene after another of body parts ripping off and zombies getting their heads blown off, and even gives us a kind of zombie sex scene towards the end which was quite humorous. I can't express just how impressive this film was for such a modest budget. It's the best zombie film I've seen in years.

The performances are also equally impressive. Our two lead couples all perform quite well together, especially Chandler Darby and Carissa Capobianco. Justin Welborn has more fun than anyone playing Kyle, the bully, and he probably gets most of the best lines in the film. Mark Oliver is hysterical as Coach Keel, and I even liked some of the smaller roles, like Randy McDowell as Jules and Blair Redford as Nash. The ensemble here is just really gifted at bringing out the humor and the horror of the picture. Just everything -- from the zombies being oddly transfixed by rock and roll music to the idea that the funeral home has a secret passageway that leads directly to the sewer -- so much humor and cheese and so much of what makes zombie films so great. You will definitely get a "Return of the Living Dead' feel from this picture.

Currently, you can't catch "Dance of the Dead" unless you happen to find it at a local film festival. If you want to drive to Birmingham, Alabama, in September, you might find it at the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival. If you can't do that, you might just have to wait until it finds a limited theatrical release or until it hits DVD. Either way, it's definitely worth the wait. "Dance of the Dead" is a fantastic zombie film and gives me hope that there might be uncharted ground left to explore in that particular sub-genre. There's still hope for the undead. 10/10.
grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 10/14/2008, 06:29 AM
I went in expecting another Automon Transfusion and was pleasently suprised with som eawesome gore and decent acting.. Some laugh out loud lines and memorable characters, especially coach and jules.

There were only a few gripes here and there.. In my opinion the ressurection scene was a little too modern for my tastes, I don't know how they would rocket out their graves..

Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #2: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 11/19/2008, 08:26 PM
The only parts that got any laughs from me were George's and one other line in the beginning. To me, the rest of the dialogue was too poorly delivered or just plain corny. I did like the cemetery groundskeeper and the part where Kyle was doing some zombie bashing.
Not much at all entertained me in this film.
Chad #3: Chad - added 11/29/2008, 08:10 AM
So much love for this one. I had a couple of things that I was going to say, but they've all been covered in the review. So, short and sweet: 10/10.
Griffinheart #4: Griffinheart - added 10/18/2009, 06:42 PM
Great movie. A nice and light piece of cinema with great gore and a high body count. 9/10
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