Written and directed by: Jon Fabris
Starring: Jamie Brown, Micah Shane Ballinger, Chris White & Grant Knight
Reviewed by: Brett H.
ďYou remember that time a stripper pulled off a pubic hair and dropped it in my drink?Ē
When you think back about what got you into the horror genre, the alluring cover art and promising titles printed on the video boxes or theatre posters probably played a pivotal role in dropping your allowance on a creature feature. Today, the concept still works and still reels me in. Take for instance, Zombie Cheerleading Camp, an independent production from director Jon Fabris. Zombies + Cheerleaders = Awesome. Jon knows it, I know it, and you know it. Awesome. Load up the van and donít forget the beer. Hopefully, Zombie Cheerleading Camp will provide the rest.
Unconventionally, we open via colorful storyboards that describe a 1940s German concentration camp in which nazis have discovered a serum that brings the dead back to life. The Allies eventually inherit the concoction to disastrous results and remaining barrels of it are destroyed in a giant, isolated explosion. Fast-forward sixty years and it turns out that the area surrounding the destruction zone has spawned a camp for cheerleaders! Lead by the ever-so-MILFY Coach Sullivan (Terry Chandeline Nicole Westfall) and her effeminate son, Tyler (Micah Shane Ballinger), they plan to whip some girls into shape and take them to the top of the cheerleading pyramid. But, when a cute and innocent squirrel finds his way to the blast zone and becomes infected, itís not just the guys intruding on the camp that are left a little stiff!
Zombie Cheerleading Camp is a mildly amusing little time waster that will most likely appeal to fans of zombies or cheerleaders. Thatís about 99% of the horror audience; so be it good or bad, it looks like Jon Fabris has us in a stranglehold. Movies like these are simply hard to resist. No, itís not the movie to finally dethrone the lovable Cheerleader Camp from your regular b-movie cycle, but it would make an enticing appetizer to the main course. I was shocked at how well directed the film proved to be and Iíve noticed this trend in the last few indie horrors Iíve reviewed. Whatever these movies lack in polish and scriptwriting, they make up for in using what they have on hand to entertain. The comedy is acceptable with a few laugh out loud scenes and the individualistic use of drawings to create exposition is a prime example of a filmmaker using what he has to portray the story he wants.
But, enough about the direction and technical stuff for the time being, letís get down to the good stuff! Iíve been drenched in zombie films for years and itís safe to say that flesh fiends are amongst my favorite horror ghouls of all time. I love all sorts of zombies; slow, fast, stupid, smart. And, I especially love when the zombies just happen to parade about in cheerleader attire. While the movie doesnít offer quite the amount of cans I had hoped, the impressive set we're given on multiple occasions is well worth the wait. Zombie effects are sufficient indeed, with the ghouls sporting creepy cloudy eyes and stumbling about in search of fresh meat. Mostly patterned after the classic Romero zombie, there are a few instances where they branch out in style for comedic or dramatic effect. A particularly funny scene involves a handful of zombies using a fellow stiff as a battering ram, which is sure to put a smile on the face of viewers. The amount of gore is certainly below the insanity weíve been lucky enough to come across from unrated Italian splatfests and the increasingly lax MPAA, but thereís quite enough grue to suffice, including two memorable scenes involving a weedwacker and a chainsaw. You can never go wrong with the classics.
The performances are standard, some better than others, and the cheerleaders are all cute in different girl-next door ways. Also of note is the longest rabid stuffed zombie squirrel attack Iíve seen in a long time, complete with enraged squirrel vision, a touch I was hoping for that the director was sure to include. Towards the end, it gets a little anti-climactic as the characters have little to do trapped in a cabin, but a game of Scrabble where all the words played deals with their current situation is a well-thought out touch. The DVD is available independently from the official site and includes an anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks quite good in the daytime and a bit under the weather during night scenes, while audio that is always clear. Also included is an amusing deleted scene and seven minutes of outtakes that showed just how much fun the cast had in production. Itís not the funniest horror/comedy out there, but itís without a doubt not a waste of time; if cheerleading zombies are your weakness, you really canít go wrong. For the rest of you out there with more discerning tastes, you just might want to Rent it!
For more information on this film, please visit the official website.
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