Sunday, 19 May 2019

Netflix And Chill: Peelers (2016)

Here's something I never thought I would say some years ago. I have seen LOTS of horror comedies that pit strippers against zombies. A couple of them were released a few years ago, while the best one (Zombie Strippers!) was released just over a decade ago. Which makes Peelers feel like a latecomer to what was a fleeting trend. That wouldn't be a bad thing if it looked as if everyone involved had been taking extra time and care to make sure everything was as good as it could be. Sadly, it doesn't look that way.

It's the closing night of a small strip club, a bittersweet time for owner/star Blue Jean (Wren Walker). What should be a night of celebration and sexiness, although the quirk of each act is often difficult to actually label sexy, is interrupted by a group of people who have become infected and are going to zombie around all over the place. There's biting, limb removal, bodies being too active unless damaged through the brain, and a smattering of nudity.

Written by Lisa DeVita, her first feature script, Peelers is pretty dire throughout, and the script is the main culprit. I can reel off a number of the other cast members, for example, but none of them make an impression, which means the whole thing rests on the shoulders of Wren Walker. While she does okay in her role, she has to deliver some lines and character moments that feel far too close to parody to be taken seriously. DeVita obviously thinks the central idea is good enough to make up for any other failings. It's not, not when it is so sorely mishandled. Potential weapons are highlighted in the first act (they may as well have large neon signs pointing to them), tensions are created that end up not actually feeding in to the main plot when things start to get more dangerous and bloody. They are either not used well enough or just dismissed after far too short a time.

Director Sevé Schelenz takes a step back here, after the imperfect but interesting Skew, although there are individual moments that work well. The highlight is a lapdance for two gentlemen being performed while the dancer is temporarily unaware of her clients moving from the state of living to dead.

JUST because they turned up and did what was asked of them, I will mention Caz Odin Darko, Madison J. Loos, Kirsty Peters, and Nikki Wallin. There are many others onscreen, but they are the ones I am namechecking before returning to mention Walker again. Although hampered by the weak script here, I wouldn't mind seeing Walker in a similar role that gives her much better treatment. She's the best thing here, and would work well in something with a better ensemble of characters.

The gore effects aren't good enough, mainly thanks to the wrong-headed idea that the FX would be improved/complemented by CGI, most of the characters are completely forgettable and disposable, the humour doesn't work, and nor does the horror. Yep, ending with something else I didn't think I would ever say, this is the least enjoyable movie pitting strippers against zombies that I have seen. Check out any of the others ahead of this.


Americans can buy the blu here.

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