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Anchor Bay Entertainment presents
Dead and Breakfast (2004)

"This is like a bad horror movie."
- Sara (Ever Carradine)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: September 07, 2005

Stars: Ever Carradine, Brent David Fraser, Bianca Lawson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Erik Palladino, Oz Perkins
Other Stars: Gina Phillips, Jeremy Sisto, David Carradine, Diedrich Bader, Zach Selwyn, Miranda Bailey
Director: Matthew Leutmeyer

Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (extreme gore and splatter violence, language, drug usage)
Run Time: 01h:28m:01s
Release Date: September 06, 2005
UPC: 013131311594
Genre: black comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+AB A-

DVD Review

While horror movies can be designed to shock through gore and splatter effects, taking them way over the top will typically induce comedy (if somewhat gut-clenching comedy). That principle was recognized in such modern classics as Brain Dead (Dead Alive) and Shaun of the Dead. Dead and Breakfast takes the genre to a new level, with the same slapstick sensibility as those earlier films combined with the rural Texas isolation of From Dusk Till Dawn and the doomed vibe of Cabin Fever.

Six friends are on their way to a wedding: driver Johnny (Oz Perkins), the maid of honor Kate (Bianca Lawson) and her boxer boyfriend David (Erik Palladino), slacker Christian (Jeremy Sisto), vegan Melody (Gina Phillips) and the only sensible person in the Winnebago, Sara (Ever Carradine). Completely lost in South Texas, they wind up in Lovelock, where they stop for the night at the bed and breakfast owned by Robert Wise (David Carradine). That night, they find the French chef Henri (Diedrich Bader) brutally murdered and Wise dying, and a mysterious drifter (Brent David Fraser) is lurking around the house. The sheriff (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) tells them not to leave town, and the group stays against their better judgment. But Johnny accidentally knocks open a strange box and is transformed into a murderous zombie, and he recruits the town people under his undead spell. Soon the gore is flying as the kids have to try to defend themselves with makeshift shotguns, axes, and of course, chainsaws.

The humor here is mostly limited to slapstick and the physical, with plenty of goofiness in contrast to the constant goriness. There's also a load of rural humor and culture shock such as when Melody comes face to face with deer hunters and rampant country music. Quite a bit of drug and alcohol humor is included along with the tobacco spitting. The comic book quality of the proceedings is underlined by the inclusion of numerous comic-style panels in transitions. Several nods to other horror movies are included, such as an Evil Dead poster in a closet and the chainsaw nod to that series, and several shots of the house that evoke Psycho.

Two things tie the film together nicely. Ever Carradine does a fine job as the lead, exasperated with her friends but constantly doing what she can to try to keep them alive. Zach Selwyn is quite entertaining as Randall Keith Randall, the gas station attendant who also sings and plays guitar throughout. His songs comment on the action like a Greek chorus, warning Johnny not to touch the box and making wisecracks. The songs (also by Selwyn) are pretty humorous, with a fine country twang and a bluesy rockabilly edge to them. Even after he gets killed and zombified, the songs and commentary continues, giving the picture a unique flair.

The effects are quite impressive, from the most credible severed heads I've seen on film to the constantly gouting gore effects and comic mutilations. The verisimilitude of the nasty visuals just underlines the comic aspect of the rest of the movie, making the combination quite amusing. This is the uncut film, with all the gore cuts for an R rating reinstated. The cast is fairly young, but quite competent, with numerous television actors lending a hand: Jeremy Sisto from Six Feet Under, Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development), and Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) turning in some entertaining if small parts. For those with a sick sense of humor, this is a hugely enjoyable zombie romp. And how can you resist a film that includes hip-hop/country line-dancing zombies?

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: As is appropriate for a 2004 release, the source print is in fine shape and the transfer is detailed. Color is vivid, and the reds are bright without being problematic. Black levels are deep and textures are quite attractive.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Both 5.1 and Dolby Surround versions of the soundtrack are included. The soundstage is fairly limited, however, although there's decent bass. The music sounds quite good and the audio is quite clean.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English (closed captioning only) with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Man with the Screaming Brain, All Souls Day: Dia de los Muertos and It Waits
8 Deleted Scenes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1) writer/director Matthew Leutwyler, special effects supervisor Michael Mosher and actors Erik Palladino and Zach Selwyn; 2) Leutwyler, Palladino, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Oz Perkins
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:05m:07s

Extra Extras:
  1. Additional music
  2. Poster and still gallery
Extras Review: The DVD is quite loaded, starting off with a cute lenticular cover on the slipcase. A pair of commentaries feature the cast and crew with plenty of anecdotes and laughs, though Michael Mosher makes reference to an effect featurette that is nowhere to be found on the DVD. They also spend an inordinate amount of time discussing exactly how hot Ever Carradine is. Eight deleted or extended scenes are included, with additional silly gags and also an alternate end credit sequence, totalling 10m:36s. These seem to be video-sourced and look rather poor. A few short unused songs from Selwyn are included in a little 47-second segment. A gallery includes 11 stills and a poster. Finally, there are trailers for three direct-to-video horror features forthcoming from Anchor Bay. It's a solid package that includes plenty of background information for fans of the film.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

Sick and twisted zombie humor with first-rate and excessive splatter effects, complete with a ton of extras.

 


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