By Stacey Longo
Zombeavers (2014) is the perfect example of how to do B-movie horror right. Funny, action-packed, and full of ridiculous special effects, this might be my new favorite movie. I’m going to try to review it without spoilers, if only because this movie should be unwrapped and enjoyed thoroughly by the viewer, like a Willy Wonka golden-ticket-wrapped chocolate bar, only with zombie beavers.
The flick opens with two guys in a truck carrying hazardous waste. They hit a deer, losing a barrel of toxic goo in the process. The dialogue here sets the standard for the rest of the movie.
Trucker #1 (after checking on the deer): “He’s not gonna make it.”
Trucker #2: “Eh. They carry disease. Well, up and over!”
They continue on, driving over the deer corpse, unaware that toxic waste is now leaking at a nearby beaver dam.
Next, we meet three sorority sisters, Zoe (the token tramp), Jenn (the token blonde), and Mary (the token brain). Jenn’s boyfriend Sam has cheated on her, and the girls are spending the weekend at Mary’s cousin’s cabin to help Jenn get over her heartbreak. Zoe and Jenn are dismayed to find that there is only one bathroom at the cabin for three women. Also, there is no cell phone service.
Mary: “There’s, like, a landline.”
Zoe: “A what?”
The girls go sunbathing, which allows for the obligatory topless shot that is essential to any well-done B-horror show. They decide to swim out to the beaver dam that they spot on the other side of the lake, where a bear surprises them. Uh-oh. The girls might be done for! Nah. In the nick of time, a hunter named Smyth (Rex Linn) shows up and scares the bear away with a gunshot. He then asks the girls what they’re doing.
Jenn: “We were looking for beavers.”
Smyth” Well, ain’t we all?”
The girls are later surprised when their boyfriends, Buck, Tommy, and the two-timing Sam, show up. While everyone else is shacked up in their respective bedrooms having fun, Jenn confronts Sam with a picture she saw on Facebook of him making out with a brunette. He won’t tell her who it is, and she won’t forgive him. She goes off to take a bath, only to find a zombeaver in the tub. After Tommy smashes it with a baseball bat, they all decide the animal must have been rabid. They would be wrong.
The next day, everyone decides to go swimming, as you do after finding a possibly rabid beaver in your tub. We do find out at this point who the brunette is that Sam cheated on, but this is quickly glossed over when the zombeavers move in. All but Jenn wind up on the raft, but not before Buck, Zoe’s boyfriend, is attacked. One of the highlights of this movie is when a terrified Buck holds up his own dismembered foot, one of many, many things you don’t often see in movies these days. That and zombie beavers … but I digress.
Our heroes are trapped on the raft. Sam grab’s Zoe’s dog (did I forget to mention she brought her dog? She did) and throws it in the lake as a diversion. You know that unwritten rule in horror movies where it’s okay to brutally dismember people, but animals should never, ever be injured? Happily, in Zombeavers, this rule is gleefully ignored.
From this point forward, the movie is a smorgasbord of zombeaver attacks, horrible deaths, and near escapes. There’s a scene in the house reminiscent of a Whack-a-Mole game that will make you forget to root for the heroes, because you’ll be too busy giggling.
I cannot recommend this movie enough. It’s hilarious, entertaining, and full of beaver jokes. There were no slackers in the cast, though Rex Linn, probably best known for his role as Detective Frank Tripp on CSI: Miami, steals the show as the deadpan, no-nonsense Smyth, who quietly munches on a chicken leg while examining Buck’s dismembered foot. And you won’t want to miss the ending credits—there’s a gag reel, and a fabulous Tony Bennett-esque theme song performed by Nick Amado that you won’t want to miss.
Is this movie a thoughtful introspective on aesthetic principles and style? No. But it’s a heck of a lot of fun!