Sunday, 23 October 2011

Dead Meat (2004)

Written and directed by Conor McMahon, Dead Meat is a low-budget zombie movie with a distinctly Irish flavour.

It all starts off with mad cow disease, a farmer being attacked and then suddenly Ireland is being overrun with pale-faced folk hungry for the flesh of the living. Sadly, nobody told Martin (David Ryan) or Helena (Marian Araujo) about this and the two quickly find themselves in the middle of a bizarre situation. One with lots of zombies milling around them.

Dead Meat isn't a bad little film and it's one that deserves to be seen and supported by fans. Like most low-budget splatter comedies (which it is) there are some varied practical effects but the ones that work are worth the wait for gorehounds.

The movie suffers from the obvious low budget and, as is also often the case with these kinds of films, issues of pacing and a sense that most of the events onscreen lack any purpose. The protagonists end up trying to go from A to B, which is supposedly a place of safety, but you can't help wondering why they just don't divert to anywhere closer that could make for an equally adequate "safe house".

The acting isn't too bad though. David Ryan is okay, Marian Araujo makes for an appealing potential heroine, David Muyllaert is just fine and Eoin Whelan compensates for moments of his indecipherable, strong accent with such a hilarious turn that he steals the entire film. Amy Redmond is also amusing as a woman initially mistaken for someone already zombiefied.

It's a shame that McMahon couldn't do a bit more to cover over the weaknesses. Either a lot of the same areas were re-used or the sets were far too similiar and you have to consider that just changing camera angles and adding some dressing here and there would have made the situation a lot less noticeable. There's also the low lighting levels in many scenes, helping to hide any rough special effects but not helping with the onscreen tension or ability to see just who is fighting who and how the situation is developing.

Despite the flaws, this is definitely still worth a watch for fans of zombie movies and also contains an ironic punchline of an ending that makes for a particular statement you could imagine Romero having a chuckle at. Which edges the whole thing above average.

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