Part of the Ghost House Underground onslaught of films, Dance of the Dead is a sweet little movie about zombies erupting from their graves in a small town just in time to ruin Prom. It’s a simple love+zombie tale that manages to hit all the right notes for a fun film that is entertaining and charming, though there isn’t a whole lot of depth to it – that’s not a bad thing though, as simple is good.
On the night of the Prom, zombies blast forth (literally, in some cases) from a cemetery situated near a nuclear power plant. The undead quickly spread out, following noises which lead them immediately to the High School Prom, where they feast on flesh and transform those inside. This leaves only our loser heroes, who for the most part weren’t going to prom, to fight off the zombie menace and stop it in it’s tracks.
There are at least 9 on-screen kills of humans and, as always, a much higher number of zombies are destroyed through various means.
Dance of the Dead packs in some decent gore, though none of it is disgusting, rather it has a somewhat playful tone most of the time. A few of the kills are more aggressive than the others, like a hardcore beating with a pipe. We see severed hands, a face get eaten off, a head ripped, a head cleaved down the center, and a groundskeeper goes all ninja with a shovel. There is a cool skull zombie I liked, death by frog, gunshots, impalements, backyard wrestling vs zombies, arms ripped off, a heel to the brain, a spine and head ripped out, a tongue ripped out and eaten, axe wounds, a disemboweling, and a head gets smashed to hell and back, among a few others. Also, there is an explosion!
There are some cheerleaders flipping around in the beginning and the character of Lindsey (Greyson Chadwick) is an alarmingly cute redhead. Also, two zombies make out and start ripping each others flesh off with their teeth. Mmm – Love.
Hopefully you all know the rules about zombies and nuclear power plant contamination, but we also learn that zombies are pretty big fans of rock and roll.
Like I mentioned above, Dance is a smaller film, that feels somewhat intimate for a zombie flick, if you’ll believe that. The characters are all pretty believable and, for the most part, well acted. Sure, there are some flat readings here and there, but nothing that takes you out of the experience. The runtime is short, clocking in at under ninety minutes, but that keeps the pace quick without getting lost along the way like so many films do. The title may be somewhat deceptive, as most of the action takes place before they even get to the prom, but the zombies liking rock music was interesting, campy, and worked within the story.
This is not a balls out horror film or a too goofy attempt, rather it finds the right balance between zombie violence and goofy teen humor. I was immediately drawn into the movie and it kept me entertained from start to finish, satisfying my lust for blood and humor. The ex-military gym teacher (Mark Oliver) was like Henry Rollins light, but hilarious. Definitely a good edition to the cast and story line.
The film is being compared to Carrie, based on the tenuous High School connection, and Shaun of the Dead, because it’s funny. Really, the film is neither of these, rather being its own entity of horror, comedy, and teen romance. If you’re looking for a good laugh and some decent blood splatter from a fun and sweet flick, this is the one for you. On the side, I really loved how the zombies exploded from the ground and hit the dirt running, it was fun and new. So give this film a chance and I think you’ll probably have a good time.