Friday, August 13, 2010


Best friends, Philip, Wurst, and Konrad are three unpopular seniors just trying to make it through high school in one piece. One night, when they visit a Satanic ritual being performed by the school's goth crowd, which includes Philip's next door neighbor Rebecca, the three friends are accidentally covered in the ashes of a Haitian zombie. While driving home, Wurst crashes his van, and the three wake up in the morgue. Unsure if they are stoned or if the medics just made a huge mistake, the three sneak back to Philip's house.

It is only when watching Day Of The Dead that evening that the trio put two and two together and realize they are zombies. They take their new powers in stride, putting them to good use on the rugby field to finally win a game against the jocks. But when Konrad begins to use his undead status to get back at all those that picked on them, Philip knows that they have to find an antidote and turns to Rebecca and her copy of the Necronomicon. If they can not finish the spell within thirty-six hours, they'll be stuck as zombies forever!

Writer and Director Mathias Dinter gives us Germany's entry into the rom-com-zom subgenre with this outing that focuses much more on the comedy aspect than the horror. Mathias' inspiration and dedication seems to come almost exclusively from the worlds of REVENGE OF THE NERDS, AMERICAN PIE and CAN'T HARDLY WAIT, rather than the universe that George Romero created. Dinter leaves all of the undead references and homages to SHAUN OF THE DEAD, save for one quickie, which is a highlight of the film. Instead, Dinter focuses his efforts on the lives of his clueless and horny dorks as they try to cope with their new abilities and the troubles they bring. The zombie aspect of the film could almost be any interchangeable variable that would have allowed Philip to gain sudden popularity.

Dinter completely drops any feeling of suspense or horror, and hardly dabbles in the gore department. Sure, there is a bit of neck biting and some severed limbs, but it is approached in a gross-out comedy way rather than blood-n-guts gross-out. Instead, Dinter drinks deep of the gross-out teen comedy cup that has already been poured and generously borrows from his predecessors while adding a decidedly "German" touch. While there are plenty of solid laugh out loud moments, and several good set-ups and pay-offs, the standard plot remains easily predictable and has been done before in half a dozen languages.
The main acting crew here, consisting of German versions of twenty-something WB actors pretending to be teenagers, do a decent job with the material, but no one here is winning any awards. Manuel Cortez, who plays the teacher-chasing perpetually-stoned Wurst, takes top prize in the comedy department, while Collien Fernandes, a former member of the bands Yam Yam and Suco E Sol, gives the movie its eye candy with her shy yet sexy role as Rebecca.

All rolled up, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DORKS is an easy to digest comedy that yucks it up rather than yucks you out. The film is even more approachable due to its complete lack of undead mythos built in, or jokes that will only play for a target audience, and works better as a companion piece to the oft-forgotten MY BOYFRIEND'S BACK, instead of trying to vie for attention against SHAUN OF THE DEAD. In the end, it becomes a by-the-numbers John Hughes film, house party scene and all. Just with zombies.


Midnight on Twitter and Facebook