Eye For Film >> Movies >> Dead Meat (2004) Film Review
Dead Meat is not a complicated film. Man feeds cows to other cows. Cows develop infectious disease which then spreads to humans causing them to feed on one another. In an effort to contain the disease, the survivors are then rounded up like terrified cattle.
The plot really doesn’t really require any elaboration on this brief précis and, as for the film-making, in spite of some impressive and judicious steadicam work, the digital photography is predominantly hand-held, the acting is distinctly patchy and the production values are predictably low. But if you’re so inclined, this kind of almost wilful amateurism is part of the charm and exuberant fun of low-budget zombie films.
Conor McMahon’s feature debut takes its lead less from the visceral/cerebral horror of early Romero and Cronenberg (although there are respectful nods, particularly in the closing stages, to both) than from the anarchic post-modern exploitation films of early Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi. It shares their low-brow absurdist black humour, their eccentric characterisation and their gratuitous foregrounding of gruesome dismemberment, as well as a penchant for convulsive camerawork, wide angle lenses and a robustly unpretentious approach to the subject matter.
In fact, in some ways it’s a more enjoyable film that either Braindead or Bad Taste in that it never subordinates its dramatic momentum to gross-out effects and, at just over 75 minutes, doesn’t make the mistake of outstaying its dubious welcome. After all, for even the most committed fanatic there is only so much to be gained from a retread, no matter how faithful, of such familiar territory. But there’s still ample gore (I’m not sure this kind of camped-up carnage really qualifies as violence) to satisfy the hardcore demographic at whom the film is squarely and unapologetically pitched: death by stiletto heel, death by garden spade, death by vacuum cleaner.
In a way it’s comforting to know that an unreconstructed splatter-fest like this can still get financing, and in another, it’s a shame that the film-makers hadn’t injected it with more of the originality that made the templates on which it is so closely based so exciting. However, it’s all executed with energy, panache and as much imagination as the narrow parameters of the sub-genre will allow. In short, it does exactly what it says on the tin.Reviewed on: 03 Oct 2005