It’s hard to convey in writing how tired I am of zombie films. I’ve never cared much for the concept save for a handful of admitted classics. But now more than ever, the subgenre is flooded with one remarkably mundane addition after the next. It takes a lot to generate excitement in the space, but Peter Ricq’s Dead Shack was able to capture my imagination in a minute and a half with its initial concept trailer on Kickstarter. It’s realistic depiction of foul-mouthed teenagers battling the undead won me over quick. I’m happy to report that the actual film is even better.

“… foul-mouthed teenagers battling the undead…”

The setup is simple. A family’s cabin getaway turns into a classic tale of “wrong place, wrong time” when three teenagers witness a killing. Things get worse when the murderer discovers what they’ve scene and pursues them with what appears to be their own personal zombie. It’s a Horror/Comedy on paper, but it’s the pace and balance of each that makes Dead Shack special. Donavon Stinson is a scene stealer every single time he makes an appearance, but even the incessant bickering among the teenagers feels appropriately authentic and comedic.

But this isn’t exactly a Tucker and Dale sort of Horror/Comedy. Ricq and co impressively pivot from hilarity to horrifying at the drop of a hat. But while both elements are prominent, they intersect less often than you’d think thanks to well placed musical cues. Dead Shack isn’t afraid to stay mean and dark when it needs to be, and that’s a big part of what separates it from the pack.

“Ricq and co impressively pivot from hilarity to horrifying at the drop of a hat.”

While the star of the show is most certainly the dialogue, the visuals hold their own. Images are crisp, color and lighting are generally moody and pleasing, and the practical FX are absolutely glorious. It’s not a non-stop bloodbath, but there’s plenty of the red stuff to go around–trust me. Considering this is a film that relied, in part, on crowdfunding to get across the finish line, the end result is fairly remarkable. Dead Shack might not be the savior of the Zombie film, but it certainly makes living with them a lot more fun.

Shudder picked the film up as an exclusive. And while it has been available to stream for several months now, it’s now available to purchase on Blu-Ray. I recommend that you do. Special features include:

  • Dead Shack Behind the Scenes
  • Dead Shack trailer