Directed by Matthew Leutwyler, 2004
It’s movies like this that remind me why I wade through so much crappy, straight-to-DVD, Indie horror. The ratio may be low, but for every ten or fifteen Satan’s Little Helpers or Gingerdead Mans, there is at least one Dead & Breakfast.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was a little drunk at the time, but alcohol or not Dead & Breakfast is a riot.
It’s a story about a group of friends who are driving across Texas to get to a wedding and along the way stop off at a B&B, where they get involved in all kinds of supernatural funk. A couple dead bodies later, the town folk start becoming possessed, and you’ve got a full fledged zombie splatter comedy, a la Dead Alive, on your hands. The principle characters may be college coeds, which is an open pet peeve of mine, but at least they’re good actors with a lot of charm and energy.
The script may not be the first of its kind, but it has plenty of nuance and charm to it that makes it great and original in its own right. There are stereotypical pot-shots taken at the rednecks, but for the most part the jokes all get the laughs they aim for. It plays wonderfully not on what you expect to see from a movie like this, but rather what you think you expect, only to take that and twist it all around. There’s some really cool, thoughtful stuff here, like homemade shotguns and ancient, oriental, soul-trapping boxes.
One of the highlights of the film is the hillbilly guitarist/narrator who pops up now and then, always with a great song to transition into the next bit of insanity. Andre the Butcher (which came after D&B) had a similar gag with a narrator who played on a harmonica, but he wasn’t nearly as enjoyable or as integral as what we get here.
The gore effects – and the gore doth floweth – are really great, especially for Indie standards. Plus, there may be a lot of blood, but it’s never torturous and it’s never overtly offensive.
It’s the kind of movie you can get together with your friends and have a blast watching. It may not be the classic that Dead Alive is, yet, but it definitely deserves to hang out at its lunch table. As far as Indie horror goes, I think it’s right up there with Dead End – and Dead End just happens to be my favorite Indie since Evil Dead II.
Now I know why filming The LAN failed. I didn’t put Dead in the title…
Anyways, check it out, it’s more than worth it if you’ve got a good sense of humor and enjoy movies that are simple, but not stupid. Don’t confuse it’s jovial nature with simplicity, it takes a lot of skill to make something well thought out and calculated, without seeming idiotic. Dead & Breakfast does it gracefully.