Night Of The Living Deb


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Night Of The Living Deb
"Thayer's unrelenting impression of nails scraping down a blackboard meas that by the end of an hour and a half you'll be ready to kill Deb yourself if the zombies haven't."

Why is it that in a society that celebrates the sexual as much as this one, the morning after having picked up an attractive stranger is meant to be a time of shame? Admittedly, sometimes it's complicated. If you were drunk. If you were on the rebound. If you took home somebody you wouldn't normally want to speak to. If there's a zombie apocalypse happening outside.

When Ryan (Michael Cassidy) finds Deb (Maria Thayer) in his bed the morning after the night before, his first concern is now to get rid of her. The voracious cannibals stalking the streets outside make that difficult, but as the two of them drive around town trying to find their loved ones, he discovers she's just as annoyed by him as he is by her. Deb is geeky, socially awkward, prone to quoting (badly) when she can't think of anything to say, and determined to keep finding things to say all the time. Ryan is a product of unappreciated nouveau riche privilege and white liberal guilt, trying to live every aspect of his life the way he thinks he ought to and, in the procss, cutting himself off from other human beings. So we have the set-up for an odd couple romance, but it's skewed. Cassidy'ss carefully judged performance means that, for all his sins, it's quite easy to ike Ryan. Thayer's unrelenting impression of nails scraping down a blackboard meas that by the end of an hour and a half you'll be ready to kill Deb yourself if the zombies haven't.

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The problem with the film is that, having set up this premise, it repeatedly fails o do anything interesting with it. Absolutely everything is by the book. There is some relief in the form of Ray Wise, who is entertaining as always, but one gets the impression he was only shown fragments of the script and was under the illusion it was going somewhere. There's a single cute little twist at the end which makes both characters and audience question their assumptions, but that's about it.

Along the way we get glimpses of what might have been. Julie Brister's feisty but constrained performance as Deb's best friend just serves to remind us that the film isn't as gutsy as it thinks it is - wouldn't it have been more interesting to have the fat woman as the heroine? Chris Marquette puts in a potentially interesting turn as Ryan's brother but gets nothing in the way of character arc. Syd Wilder has a thankless role as Ryan's recently ex fiancee, essentially just there to bounce around in skimpy clothing with all, the potential for genuine tension between her and Deb - and the different aspects of Ryan's life - entirely squandered.

In the end, Night Of The Living Deb feels like it was made by a soap opera producer for daytime TV, and even dedicated fans of the shuffling undead will struggle to swallow it.

Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2015
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Night Of The Living Deb packshot
When an awkward girl wakes up with a pretty boy, she soon finds herself rejected - until he realises they're in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

Director: Kyle Rankin

Writer: Kyle Rankin, Andy Selsor

Starring: Maria Thayer, Michael Cassidy, Ray Wise, Chris Marquette, Julie Brister

Year: 2015

Runtime: 85 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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