SXSW FILM FESTIVAL
SXSW Review: Dance of the Dead
by Alex Billington
March 10, 2008
It seems like every year we get only one good new zombie movie. It's a genre that lives on (pun intended) and is still enjoyed each and every year, but the good ones are harder and harder to find. However, within only three months we've already stumbled across this year's great new zombie flick - Dance of the Dead. The film is a fun mix of Shaun of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, any of Michael Bay's scripts, and any high school prom movie you've ever seen. It's fun, it's exciting, and it's really damn good.
Dance of the Dead is about the group of high schoolers who couldn't get into the prom (played primarily by Jared Kusnitz and Greyson Chadwick). Before long zombies start rising from the dead and attacking the entire town, leaving these few leftover youngsters to take it back. It starts out primarily in a graveyard, with an awesome zombie attack sequences, and progress throughout the town eventually ending at the prom in the high school. While I won't spoil the progression of the story, it doesn't take place entirely at the prom nor is there even any dancing (with the dead).
What I love about zombie movies nowadays is that they don't need to really introduce anything entirely new to be good. As long as they're a unique and refreshing taking on the genre we've all come to love, they can still be good. That's the case with Dance of the Dead - it was just all-out fun and ridiculous gore all packed into an incredibly fun theatrical experience. Unfortunately this won't be the case when you see it, but at the Alamo Drafthouse, we were treated to free beer (always a plus), a disco ball for atmosphere, and even a real-life confetti explosion at the end. This is the kind of unforgettable experience that only comes out of having a damn good time enjoying a damn good zombie movie.
Let me explain what I mean by calling this a fun mix of Shaun of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, any of Michael Bay's scripts, and any high school prom movie you've ever seen. Everyone should understand Shaun of the Dead, because this is a similar half-comedy, half-horror zombie movie. Dawn of the Dead is thrown in for the idea of "gearing up" with weapons and heading out in a vehicle fighting off zombies. When I say Michael Bay's scripts, don't get worried, because I'm talking about his cliche lines and flashy action scenes, although in Dance of the Dead, they work perfectly. And then of course you've got teens trying to sleep with girls, that's self-explanatory.
Although I went into Dance of the Dead with high hopes, I was still surprised - it kicked some serious ass. I'm certain I'll be watching it multiple times over at least for the graveyard zombie sequence. If you're looking for this year's great new zombie flick, this is it.