Boy Eats Girl

Boy Eats Girl

****

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

One would think that the zom-rom-com genre would inevitably be shortlived, with a limited number of stories to tell, but just when you thought it was safe to come out of the cellar, along comes this little gem of a film, proof that there's life (or something like it) in Ireland's horror industry yet.

The story opens as teenager Nathan's unfashionable but intensely likeable friends try to persuade him to ask out the girl he's liked for ages, an endeavour plagued by mishap and misunderstanding. After Nathan inadvertently kills himself, his devoted mother steals an ancient grimoire from her church in order to resurrect him. Unaware that he's a zombie, Nathan endeavours to get on with his life, hoping to put right the things he's screwed up so far; but one little bite of human flesh, and before you know it, almost everyone in the school is zombified.

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Boy Eats Girl is B-movie stuff and knows it, but does it all with relaxed self-assurance, always witty and charming. Its young leads display excellent timing and convincing rapport. The only weak point is pop-star-turned-actress Samantha Mumba, who seems to be there more because she pleased the financiers than because she has anything creative to offer - she sleepwalks through her role as the girl of Nathan's dreams, and whilst her zombie-fighting acrobatics might explain something of her appeal, there's no real chemistry between them. By contrast, much of the supporting cast do sterling work in rounding out their characters so that we do care what happens to them, even if our reaction to their deaths is one of delight.

The creators of this film have acknowledged their debt to Braindead, and the final big mass-zombie-killing scene clearly has its roots there, but this is what tributes ought to be about, rather than lame copies. The scale of gleeful bodily destruction in this scene has few parallels. Boy Eats Girl has that rarest of cinematic qualities, a real sense of fun. Highly recommended.

Reviewed on: 20 Oct 2007
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Boy Eats Girl packshot
Young Nathan's fortunes change dramatically after his mother brings him back from the dead.
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Director: Stephen Bradley

Writer: Derek Landy

Starring: David Leon, Tadhg Murphy, Laurence Kinlan, Samantha Mumba, Sara James, Mark Huberman, Denis Conway

Year: 2005

Runtime: 112 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Eire, UK

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If you like this, try:

Black Sheep
Braindead
Shaun Of The Dead