Invasion of the Undead

Written and Directed by Torey Haas

Released: 2015

It is surely the case that one’s expectations frame one’s evaluation of cinema. I may be disappointed by the next Tarantino film, and I may be pleasantly surprised by the latest offering from The Asylum. This does not mean, however, that I prefer the Asylum film between the two. In fact, it is likely that the worst Tarantino film (my money’s on Death Proof) will be better than any present or future Asylum movie (with the obvious exception being the 50 Shades parody!).

With this in mind, Invasion of the Undead bills itself as a cheese-tastic horror comedy fitted with Evil Dead reminiscent stopmotion special effects and an appropriately goofy comedic duo. Desmond and Jake work as clerks and happen to be paranormal exterminators on the side. They are called to investigate the presence of ‘zombies’ and all hell breaks loose.

There is much cheese at work. The setup is so formulaic that it beats the audience over the head. The dialogue sometimes has that awkward and out of place feel. The presence of evil isn’t even really that menacing. At about 30 minutes in, I thought that I was watching a fun style parody of the horror/sci-fi films of yesteryear. Who doesn’t appreciate a good style parody every now and then?

Then I had a realization which I will present through a series of thoughts: “Jesus, that Jack Skellington looking fellow is scary as hell!” “WTF did he just do with his hands?!” “Wait, do I actually care about the characters?” “I think I see the plot!” “This movie is coming together out of nowhere.”

Don’t get me wrong; this one is still a cheese-fest. There are sword fights, battles with the lumbering undead, and an inter-dimensional (cosmic?) battle with some potential Star Wars nods that takes place partly in a living room. These are supplemented by legitimate storytelling elements: motivation for the characters, plausible events, a sufficient backstory, etc.

The acting is mostly spot on, within the context of the film. In particular, I love the way Jake’s character was played out. But there are a few moments when the acting misses the mark and chokes the atmosphere.

At worst, this is a weird and enjoyable film, but, at best, Invasion of the Undead is a wonderfully executed style parody of 'so-bad-they're-good' films.

Rating: 8/10

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