When Mike (Michael McKiddy) stumbles out of a car crash, he makes a startling discovery: he’s a zombie. Even more perplexing is not only have other zombies returned from the grave but he alone seems to retain his mental faculties.
That is until he meets Brent (Ross Kidder).
While Mike is mild mannered and well behaved, Brent is loud, unconventional, and amusingly obnoxious. Still, they are the only two sentient zombies and thus seem destined for friendship, albeit an uncomfortable one.
After sharing a beer together while attempting to piece together what is happening, Mike discovers an engagement ring and remembers he was going to propose to his girlfriend right before his ill-timed murder. Brent offhandedly suggests that they should find Mike’s ex so he can finally profess his feelings for her. Despite being dead for 3 years and currently a zombie, Brent and Mike embark on what may be the oddest of the odd couple road trip movies.
Brent quickly picks up a mindless zombie dubbed “Cheese” whom Brent and Mike treat like a faithful dog. They also befriend a man named Cliff on his way to the ocean to scatter the ashes of his wife, Pei Pei. This motley crew bands together to defend themselves against hostile humans. While Mike copes with some disturbing discoveries during the trip, they are pursued by a former convict as well as two employees of a private firm, headed by Mike’s ex-girlfriend’s father, who made the zombies as weapons. Disappointed in how ineffective the zombies are as WMD, the firm has decided to terminate all the results of their experimentation including Mike, Brent, and Cheese.
Deadheads is more of a gory romantic comedy, like Tucker and Dale vs Evil, than an actual horror film. Still any movie that features so many dismembered body parts, murders, and brain splatters is firmly within the horror genre and gore hounds won’t be disappointed in terms of the body count or the special effects.
What makes this movie particularly appealing is the self referencing humor and manipulation of familiar tropes like the isolated bar under siege or the survivors trapped in an isolated cabin. At one point, a scene at a drive-in plays out with Evil Dead as the backdrop. Since Deadheads was written by the Pierce Brothers, this nod to Raimi has personal resonance. Their father worked on the original Evil Dead and it was his involvement that inspired the Pierce Brothers to become filmmakers. (For further information on the Pierce Brothers, Deadheads, and FroBro Films, please visit the official FroBro website.) What makes Deadheads even more impressive is that this the Pierce Brother’s first full length independent directorial debut. Their familiarity and affection for the genre comes through, and the little winks and nods to convention make the film even more enjoyable.
The bloopers reel, which runs during the end credits, is not to be missed. It shows the actors having as much fun making the movie as I was watching it. I could feel their enthusiasm in the final product. A thoroughly enjoyable film, especially to watch with friends late at night while enjoying.