Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2011 – Deadheads & Love
On first glance, Deadheads appears to be just another buddy comedy, but through genre-magic, Deadheads ends up having more heart than a film about flesh-eating zombies should have.
The film follows Mike Keller, a recently revived zombie who is in a bit of a pickle, all he really wants to get back to his old girlfriend and rekindle their romance but the whole ‘living dead’ thing is messing with his confidence a bit. As he heads on the road he’s joined by fellow-smart-zombie Brent a manic depressive auto erotic asphyxiation fanatic, Cliff a grizzled Vietnam veteran heading to scatter the ashes of his wife and a dumb-zombie-pet named Cheese. As bizarre as his undead/almost dead troupe seems to be, they grow on Mike, especially after the group draw the attention of some zombie-eradicators who are trying to track down every last flesh-bag in the tri-state area.
Deadheads is also quite fun when you realize the only characters that are fleshed out in the film are the ones with their flesh falling off. All of the human characters are pleasantly one-dimensional caricatures who merely cross the zombies paths and act to help develop the two leads into rather interesting bro’s. The execution is goofy and it shows, but after awhile it’s almost unnoticeable, as most of the gags are strung out to the logical ends. Items that seem like bad continuity lead to laughable conclusions and you’re left just amused at the whole thing. Once again, this film is smarter than it has any right to be and I would gladly see whatever director/writer sibling pair Brett Pierce and Drew Piece do next.
Prior to seeing the film, I had described Love as ‘astronaut gets stuck in space and goes crazy’ film, lumping it in with 2001, Moon and Solaris and after a viewing, have determined it to be most like the latter, just with a wicked smaller budget.
Love is contemplative, Love is curious, Love is multi-disciplinary and Love is a triumph. Love is about astronaut Lee Miller, alone aboard the International Space Station as the distorted communications devices leave him silent while he loses connection with Houston and with anybody else on Earth. We know something bad has happened, but the most infuriating thing is that we don’t know what happened and we don’t exactly know WHEN. We’re left in the dark just as much as Lee is and we watch insanity creep in, almost as a coping mechanism for him to stay alive and thriving. As the days turn to weeks, months and years, he doggedly rations his food and obsesses over a leather bound book he found hidden behind a panel. The book contains the story of another abandoned soldier, one from the Civil War, on a mission to find an unknown object in the desert, something strange and alien, something that could be connected to Lee’s mission now.
Unlike many of the aforementioned films, Love does offer an answer, but an answer that just brings forth more questions. Execution-wise, the film has the heart and talent of something that usually costs 10 times as much, shot on a micro-budget. The civil war scenes were shot in two parts, one part costing about $50,000 and being the best damn Civil War battle you’ve ever seen for that little. The space station used in the film was created in the backyard of director William Eubank and a major set piece for the viewing screen of Earth was an LCD screen TV. Authenticity is how you make it.
The film is likely being distributed through an online source in Canada, hopefully iTUNES so check back for updates.
Next Up: A Lonely Place to Die, The Divided, VS and The Innkeepers.
Previously: Monster Brawl