�All you need is love.� � The Beatles
Zombie movies have always been among my favorites within the horror genre. I don�t know what it is about them, but there�s something just so innately terrifying about there being a fate worse than death. That being said, it�s unbelievably hard to find anything new under the sun when it comes to zombie movies. Pretty much all films around the living dead are based on the rules set forth by George A. Romero, with the living dead remaining more or less mindless, feeding on the flesh of the living, killed by headshots, and forcing people to barricade themselves in your isolated location of choice. Mind you, its an excellent formula in the right hands, but it offers little variety in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the cinema of the living impaired. So, as always when I come across a rather unique film I found myself delightfully surprised to see that there is actually something new in the tired genre with the rule-bending Zombie Honeymoon.
Danny (Graham Sibley) and Denise Zanders (Tracy Coogan) are recently married and looking forward to spending the rest of their life together. Like every other young couple madly in love they feel completely free, practically wanting to shout out their love to the world while taking their honeymoon as one last fling before having to return back to the responsibility that is life (even if they do dream one day of just getting rid of it all and moving to Portugal.) Borrowing a house from her uncle on the beach, they have a beautiful place, a full fridge, and beachfront access. Everything seems perfect.
Just hours after arriving and making love, the young couple relaxes on the beach. While Danny naps in the sand, Denise watches as a dirty and rotten looking man comes up from the ocean. He attacks the pair, pinning Danny to the ground before vomiting blood into his mouth. In moments, both the strange man and Danny are dead. Denise frantically accompanies her husband to the hospital as doctors do everything they can to revive him, but he cannot be helped. Ten minutes after his attack on the beach, Danny is declared dead. Miraculously though, he seems to magically wake up from the dead, and all seems to be well as the young couple try to put this behind them and get on with their honeymoon. That�s all well and good, but as Danny slowly begins to deteriorate and he gains the never-ending hunger for human flesh, Denise must question the very makeup of their relationship and decide whether to stick by or run away from her undead cannibalistic husband.
Now, I probably resign my Y chromosome for saying this but I�ve always liked a good romantic movie. So, to find a movie that combines my love for romantic flicks and my love for gut-wrenching, gut-munching zombie horror, that was quite cool if I must say so myself. The affecting and poignant performances of Tracy Coogan and Graham Sibley as a couple desperately trying to find a solution to his condition is strikingly realistic when compared to how many people cope with a loved one contracting a terminal disease. The slow descent into madness and acceptance of the disease is brilliantly portrayed by Sibley, as it is quite clear that he doesn�t want to do what he is doing because it hurts his wife so, yet does it because he has no choice. On the other end of the spectrum, Coogan marvelously portrays a woman so desperately in love that she�s willing to do anything, including cover up a massive cannibalistic murder spree, to save her man. The chemistry between these two is palpable and earnestly believable, making the horror that they�re forced to go through that much worse. They really are a cute couple, and I really did want things to work out for them in the end. You know, assuming he�d stop rotting and eating people that is.
Still, romantic comedy to an extent it may be, this film does not stray far from the roots of its zombie predecessors as it is still a balls to the wall zombie movie. The gore is frequent and vibrant, with blood running down to the walls as bowels are munched on and limbs are ripped from the living. The effects are a bit cheesy at times, but given the fact that it�s a low budget movie and the surrounding story is truly compelling, this is forgivable. Clear care was put into this movie to make it as respectful to it�s genre predecessors (note the video store clerk�s shirt) while still carving new ground to make it a monster movie all its own.
In the end, Zombie Honeymoon is a true gem among the low budget living dead films. It�s alternately poignant, visceral and ultimately tragic, yet is still as clear a sign as ever that true love can conquer all.
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