Reviewed by: Owen Van Spall

"Simply aping horror films of yesteryear, layering on the piles of intestines, and putting self-aware performances on screen, isn’t enough on its own in today’s crowded field of horror parodies."

It's puerility and puppets all the way in Jordan Rubin’s lo-fi creature feature parody that aims right for the guilty pleasure spot. The title is the concept in case you didn’t guess, and there are a fair number of laughs to be had even if the result isn’t as funny as the loopy title suggests it could be.

The plot is a conveyor belt of horror cliches, the action laced with nods to everything from Jaws to Night Of The Living Dead (barricades, feet being bitten off underwater; you get the picture). Zombeavers also echoes include the intentionally lo-fi cringe fests Sharknado and Piranha 3D.

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The furry terror begins as three BFF female college kids head off to a riverside cabin in the woods for a weekend of ‘boy-free’ activity, even though it is soon revealed that a trio of jilted boyfriends/hookups have followed them there anyway for some heavy petting and beer. Of course, the three female leads start off scantily clad and are in bikinis for a swim within minutes of arriving at the cabin. Of course, the area around their cabin is patrolled by a shotgun-toting local yokel with a wandering eye and an itchy trigger finger. Of course, there is no cellphone reception and the cabin is isolated from any large urban areas. Of course, the six leads fit the jock/final girl/slut/nerd/preppy/cheater profiles to a tee. And, of course, their cabin retreat is right next door to a lodge of beavers mutated by toxic waste into rabid zombie critters.

A lot of hijinks ensue, but not quite the same amount of hilarity. Gore lovers get plenty of the good red stuff, for sure. But simply aping horror films of yesteryear, layering on the piles of intestines and putting self-aware performances on screen,isn’t enough on its own in today’s crowded field of horror parodies. Yes, the sight of jerking beaver puppets will raise a smile and bring to the surface warm memories of pre-CGI creature flicks such as Critters (like the Critters, the zombeavers have a habit of cackling to each other after executing a successful ploy), but a lot of the on-the-nose one-liners fall flat on the ground with a splat. You can probably guess what kind of sexual innuendo gag gets overplayed.

The film is at its funniest when the visual gags and blood-drenched set pieces riff on the actual behaviour and capabilities of real-life beavers. A scene where three of the doomed characters suddenly realise their escape by road is blocked due to a beaver dam is genuinely funny, as is witnessing on screen the concept of a zombeaver/human hybrid: needless to say, things get a little ‘toothy’ and long in the tail. If you stay through the end credits, you get a blooper reel and crooner Nick Amado’s Sinatra-esque Zombeavers theme tune. But the end credits of a film shouldn't be the most amusing part. Zombeavers would have worked better as a short film, but as it is, it's best enjoyed with a trip to the nearest bar before or after watching (or both).

Reviewed on: 24 Aug 2014
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Zombeavers packshot
You know the story: sexy teens head to a secluded lakeside cabin for a weekend of debauched fun, only to be menaced by a mysterious force picking them off one by one. But here, the culprit proves to be a horde of rabid zombie beavers.

Director: Jordan Rubin

Writer: Al Kaplan, Jon Kaplan, Jordan Rubin

Starring: Bill Burr, Cortney Palm, Rachel Melvin, Hutch Dano, Rex Linn, Jake Weary, Lexi Atkins, Brent Briscoe, Robert R. Shafer, Peter Gilroy, Chad Anderson, Phyllis Katz

Year: 2014

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: US

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