Zombie Driftwood, a new low-budget British comedy produced by Sundance Festival 2010 award winner Dave Mcwhinnie, and directed by Emmy Award winning filmmaker Bob Carruthers, is a surreal combination of zombies, paradisiacal beaches, heavy metal music, Hitler, beer and bagpipes. Growing suspicious of the ubiquitous Shaun of the Dead comparisons zombie comedy reviewers tend to make I purposefully avoided reviews, going only on the premise that it featured zombies, and would be funny. Unfortunately only the first assumption was correct.
Set in the Cayman Islands, Zombie Driftwood is the story of a group of holidaying metal fans who find themselves under attack, after passengers of an American cruise ship are mysteriously transformed into zombies. Turning the local bar into their safe haven, they realise in Romero-esque tradition that despite their lack of heartbeat, the cruising tourists are still fuelled by capitalism and wish only to continue their holiday. Whilst the un-dead get drunk and purchase metal t-shirts the government introduces zombie rights, and forbids their murder.
Whilst the humane treatment of the zombies proved an original addition, Zombie Driftwood was a difficult film to sit through. The acting and production was appalling – whether this was purposeful is indeterminable, and seems irrelevant. There just weren’t enough laughs to ensure that the viewers and filmmakers were on the same page, and as a result the tongue in cheek delivery proved unsuccessful. What may have made an intriguing three-minute skit was instead a prolonged and torturous feature film, an opinion seemingly shared by the numerous audience members that left early. A high audience drop-off point was a live band scene – effectively an October File music video – forcing me to conclude this film barely tolerable for metal or zombie fans and unbearable for anyone else. A film destined for short-term cult appeal.