I never thought as a DVD reviewer, or even as a casual viewer, I’d be singing the praises of a movie about undead beavers laying siege to a bunch of kids in the woods. You would think with a title like Zombeavers this would be some kind of lame SyFy or The Asylum production (more SyFy, actually, since they love to create shit films out of absurd concepts), well, SyFy, you might want to pay attention here, because this is how you take an absurd concept and make it highly entertaining. I’d put Zombeavers into that same category as Wolfcop (2014), another absurd concept that actually managed to hit a home run in all departments.
Most times I can tell right off the bat if I’m going to like a movie, not all the time, but a good percentage of the time it’s all right there in the prologue and Zombeavers’ hit the bull’s eye for me. It starts of nonchalantly with two these two guys, John Mayer (his film debut) and comedian/Michael Moriarty clone, Bill Burr, transporting toxic waste. It’s the banter between the two I found hilarious, while they’re conversing Burr decides to start texting and fails to see the deer standing perfectly still in the middle of the road. He swears he sees it, but Mayer doesn’t think he does. Long story short, he didn’t and it goes splat all over the front, at the same time a canister of waste snaps loose, flies out of the back and into the local river. There it drifts until a beaver damn stops it and then it suddenly springs a spraying leak. I don’t know about you but I had vivid flashbacks to the 245 trioxin leak of ’85 down south at the Uneeda Medical Supply Company. Holy Jesus that was bad. This might have been worse. No, I take that back the trioxin leak incident ended in a “nuclear cleanse,” this one does not like thus keeping the ’85 incident on top as the worst toxic waste accident in B-movie history.
The film starts out centering on three, smoking hot, college chicks, Mary (Rachel Melvin), Jenn (Lexi Atkins) and Zoe (Cortney Palm), who have come up to the country for a getaway at Mary’s cousin’s cabin. Yes, this is another teens-trapped-in-a-cabin flick and after having reviewed the lackluster Extraterrestrial (2014) I thought I was done with this beaten-to-death angle. Apparently not and apparently it all boils down to if I can relate to the trapped teens, and the cabin they’re in. The teens, male and female both, were more fun to watch in this flick than were the ones in Extraterrestrial. Understanding this pretty much explained why that last straw in cabin-trapped teens I thought had turned me into a paraplegic on Extraterrestrial wasn’t really anything more than a sharp knife hand to the throat, just above the adam’s apple.
As I mentioned previously all three are smoking hot, but Zoe’s a wicked bitch, making her the kind of chick you’d bang but never date. Having said that she kind of redeems herself later on when the shit hits the fan, but I still stand by my previous statement about her. She’s also the only chick that gets naked; showing off her perfect 100% God-given melons while tanning on the raft and later on when all three girls are investigating a beaver dam. Mary, in the beginning comes off as the more “rational and sound” chick, while Jenn is hot but suffering a broken heart because her boyfriend was caught on camera kissing another chick, one she, and supposedly everyone else just can’t make out in the photo and trust me she really wants to.
There’s a nice nod to Stephen King’s The Raft (story and movie segment from Creepshow II), and you can’t help but have one every time there’s a lake with a wooden raft in the middle of it. Other characters met in this segment after the prologue is Smyth, with a ‘y’, (Rex Linn), who I saw last in Abominable (2006), where he was stalking and then getting killed by a squatch. He’s the only actor I solidly recognized. I’ve never seen the chicks before, but later when their boyfriends, Sam (Hutch Dano), Tommy (Jake Weary) and Buck (Peter Gilroy), crash the scene, the dude who played Tommy looked awfully familiar. I had to hit up his IMDB page to see what else he was in. The only thing on his resume I had seen was Altitude (2010), and I remember that movie, so there you go.
It was also a nice surprise to get the added treat of how the bite of the undead beavers affected people. I thought this was mostly going to be about just kids fighting the beaves, but we also get some creepy transformations of select victims into these cannibalistic human/beaver hybrids. The FX in general was a nice throwback to days of practical effects too. There’s CGI but it’s relegated to doing what it does best, augmenting “little things in the environment” (i.e. blood in the water, the stump of a gnawed off foot). All the beavers are full practical effects and so are the beave/human hybrids.
The tone is obviously comedy/horror, but I saw a bit more horror than comedy, which was fine by me. It made me think of An American Werewolf In London (1981) whose comedy is black and not forced but bred naturally out of the horrific situations. And it’s all played straight, no camera winking. I actually found the scene where Rex Lynn gets attacked by a hybrid and has half his face eaten off appropriately creepy, not to mention another scene where a character gets his junk torn out and eaten. Oh, yeah, I felt that one. And to cap it all off I was even surprised by who the lone survivor was and their sudden demise by the return of our toxic waste transporting guys from the prologue.
I even liked the score!
So as you can tell this movie was a win-win in all departments. Stick around for the end credits because right before they roll you get some bloopers and right after they finish you get one final shot of what may be the subject of a sequel, and it ain’t going to be undead beavers. Hint, hint, see photo below.
Back on May 19th Freestyle Digital Media released Zombeavers on separate DVD and Blu-ray editions. However, as of this post the blu-ray is still a Best Buy Exclusive and as far as I can tell the DVD has the same extras as the blu.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—2.0 English Dolby Digital, 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio—English SDH subs only.
Transfer and audio were perfect.
- Cast/crew commentary
- Behind The Cameos (3:44)
- Behind The Scenes (1:03)
- Building A Beaver (1:53)
- Deleted Scene (:36)
- Man Becomes Monster (1:02)
- Auditions (5:53)
- Storyboards (15 boards)
- Behind The Scenes Stills (2:35)
- “For Your Consideration” Trailer
- International Trailer
- US Trailer
Those extras may look like a lot but all of them are short; you can breeze through them in no time. Just about everyone is included on the commentary, the chicks, the guys, the director, the producer, the cinematographer, the creature puppeteer, my only gripe is that it doesn’t run the length of the movie. You get 57-minutes worth of commentary before first time director, Jordan Rubin, shuts it all down. Personally, I like cast commentaries the best, and the girls and the guys on this one are the most entertaining, and they should have had full run of it.
This is the second movie in a row I’ve reviewed where this was the director’s debut.
I hope the sequel, Zombees, gets made.