Dead & Breakfast (2004)

Sex :
Violence :
Director Matthew Leutwyler
Writers Matthew Leutwyler
Starring Jeremy Sisto, Erik Palladino, Bianca Lawson, Oz Perkins, Ever Carradine, Gina Philips
Genre Splatter Comedy
Tagline Heads will roll
Country
Dead & Breakfast

Review

"This is like a bad horror movie!" - Sara

Six twenty somethings are on board an RV and heading to Galveston for the wedding of their friend, and in some cases relative, Kelly. Naturally the driver, Johnny, gets hopeless lost and the team duly arrive in the small redneck town of Lovelock. The rest of the team Sara, Kate, Melody, Christian, and David decide they need to spend the night and are directed to the local Bed and Breakfast by the requisite gas station attendant. Said B&B is the only place to stay over in Lovelock and is naturally run by the well past creepy Robert Wise and his chef Henri. After a restful night the friends wake to find Mr Wise has died of a heart attack and Henri has been stabbed to death. The local Sheriff suspects the new arrivals and seizes the keys to their RV, forcing the team to stay in Lovelock for the duration of the investigation. Luckily the Sheriff arrests "The Mysterious Drifter", who was snooping around the B&B and who is now the prime suspect.

While climbing in an upstairs window, the B&B was locked up while everyone else headed into town, Johnny accidentally knocks over an ancient wooden box unleashing the "Kuman Thong", an evil spirit formerly held prisoner in the box. Johnny is naturally possessed by the spirit and then proceeds to possess the local redneck population. The Drifter it turns out is a student of the occult and points out that the survivors need to "shoot em in the head" and perform a grisly ritual to defeat the Kuman Thong. Naturally that's not going to be as easy as it sounds, but they do have John Winchester at hand to help out! A movie that sprays the most claret I've seen since Sir Peter Jackson's Braindead ensues.

Right up front I'm going to say I had a hoot and a holler with Dead & Breakfast (D&B), its movies like this that make horror movie reviewing a pleasure. While the movie doesn't fall into the scary movie category it never the less provides some thrills and spools, more claret than a Liberal party cabinet meeting can get through, and a high level of comedy. Yes we're talking a splatter fest mixed in with a lot of sight gags and one liners rather than an out and out attempt to scare your knickers off you. Director/Writer Matthew Leutwyler knows exactly what he is doing and has this puppy collared and on a leash, if you don't have a smile on your dial by the end credits then you are pretty much as brain dead as one of the possessed rednecks the movie is littered with.

Dead & Breakfast

As per requirements for a modern horror comedy Leutwyler is referencing other horror outings at a rapid rate. I picked up on winks to Psycho (1960), The Evil Dead (1981), Poltergeist (1982), and surprising The Burning (1981). There are probably a bunch more references that I missed but knock yourself out there. Clearly the Director knows his horror and is wearing his true colours during the course of D&B.

Considering we have just finished out series of articles on the zombie sub-genre I was amused to see D&B not afraid to get into the debate, and point out that the Evil Dead movies are more about possession and less about the walking dead. During the course of D&B we have the creatures referred to as zombies and ghouls, a clear reference to Night of the Living Dead by the way where Romero referred to his reanimated flesh eaters as ghouls. And here I don't think the intention is to dial into the zombie sub-genre, we're talking murderous automations that don't necessarily need to be dead to be turned. If you ever wanted to see a re-animated redneck blasting out some ghetto rap, then you have dialled into the right movie.

Speaking of which, the segway is strong with this review, we have a narrator throughout the movie in the form of our hillbilly balladeer who can be counted on to bring the music between scenes. I was actually digging this approach along with the screen fading to a comic panel at the end of crucial scenes. It's an interesting approach that links some scenes that would otherwise be slightly jarring, editing in D&B overcomes a lot of evils in my opinion and it's great to have something different to the run of the mill to watch.

Director Leutwyler seems to have laid down the foundations for movies like Feast (2005) to take the horror tropes and give them a good shake. Don't expect D&B to follow normal horror plot lines, just when you think you have the hero pegged Leutwyler goes down a different path for example. Expectations are sadly not going to be met in the movie, which I was cool with, so expect the unexpected. Once again D&B joins a growing list of things that make a mockery of Critics making outlandish claims for later movies, no Feast wasn't original in turning the tropes on their head as some people claim, a little research goes a long way in the horror genre folks.

Dead & Breakfast

Okay I'm not going to claim the entire cast should have won Oscars for their performances in D&B, the acting besides a few knock outs was pretty fair to average to be honest. Jeffery Dean Morgan (The Sheriff) is probably the standout, he even gets to dive into freshly dug up graves in the best John Winchester fashion. Our leads are adequate, and no one really turns in a stellar performance, but then again they don't stare at the camera so it's all good in the wash up.

Besides the redneck symphony being applied by the talented Zach Selwyn there's a bunch of rock anthems going down, unfortunately generally just before another horror attack. We don't get that crescendo of sound Boredwood seems to delight in currently, but it is noticeable that an action scene is ushered in by soaring guitars.

T&A is a non-starter for ten; hey I'm just the messenger here okay! But gorehounds will be in their element as there's lashings of limbs being removed, heads exploding, and geysers of blood. For non-gorehounds don't worry, we're in no way deviating into gorenography here, like a number of splatter comedies D&B adds the claret without the mean streak.

Dead & Breakfast has been sitting in our review queue since for ever, don't ask why I didn't get around to reviewing it previously. I had a lot of fun with the movie and am going to check out what else Matthew Leutwyler might have on offer. If you like splatter comedy then this movie comes highly recommended, if not then go watch Downton Abbey or something else equally as tedious. Great to see horror comedy still alive and kicking, check this movie out, hell make it an overnight stay!

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

  Excellent splatter comedy that just keeps on giving.