I came across this movie entirely by accident, having missed it’s release completely. One glance at the poster told me this was a must see for someone with my particular taste in movies. Some day I will be disappointed, but it was not this day! First, let’s look at the trailer for this movie.
Give me the short version:
It’s a post apocalyptic western zombie movie. An evil WarLord named Apocalyptica (War-Lady maybe? I’m unsure of the gender specifics of this job role) played deliciously by Deborah Wilson of Mad TV fame, leads a horde of the undead to eliminate…well everyone… in a giant fuck you to regular humans. No real backstory is given here for her motivations, but I think we can assume that she’s just a bad person. She’s aided by a couple crazies, one played by AJ Mclean in what had to be the performance of his life as a mix between the Joker and AJ McLean.
She really really very badly wants to fuck up one town in particular. A place run by Mayor Chris Kirkpatrick with an eyepatch, and horrible parent Jon “mutton chops” Secada (more on that in a bit). Their only chance to survive is to hire the best of the best of what’s left of humanity. That’s right… backstreet’s back all right? (I hate myself for doing that obvious joke…)
Here’s what worked
This was clearly a vanity project. A bunch of friends got together and made a movie playing the character’s they’ve always wanted to play. Overacting? Why there’s no such thing! So really, with a ridiculous plot and a cast of mostly first time actors, this should have been plain horrible. But..
Inexplicably it really wasn’t that bad! I almost want to use the G word…almost…
The actors knew what kind of movie it was and had real goddam fun in it.
AJ McLean embraced his inner psycho, and I want to say it’s the 5th best joker impression I’ve ever seen. (behind Mark Hamill, Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson, and Cesar Romero in that order). His character would even fit right in in a Devil’s Rejects movie.
Quit playing games with my…COME Mr. Bigglesworth!
Joey Fatone has been in some movies over the years, and honest to baby jesus christ in a manger on christmas morning I think he should have been a bigger breakout star by now. His character Whiskey Joe -a drunk brawler- would have been perfectly acceptable in a certain “other” numerical western movie that came out this year. He was great and believable and relatable.
The real shining star here though, the creme de-la creme, was Erik Estrada from O-Town. His Samurai character Komoda was amazingly over the top. I swear he could have killed zombies by virtue of his Blue Steel impression or a really vicious squinty eye. His tragic love story was the beating heart of this movie and don’t let anyone tell you any different! Spoiler alert, his love interest get’s bitten, turns, bites him. He kills her, then kills himself. It’s very Romeo-Juliet-Zombie. It’s a stroke of tragic brilliance and insane what-the-fuck-did-I-just-look-at glory.
Nooo!! It’s all or nothing baby!! *Stabby-town*
Deborah Gibson completely chewed scenery as the crazy bald black Warlady who inexplicably spoke German. (Ha! chewed scenery. Zombie joke…good one Big D, thank’s Big D. Self high five *)The director clearly only had one note for her. Go bigger or go home! She didn’t go home.
What didn’t quite work:
Nick Carter cast himself as the lead (Naturally) and his wife as the badass mysterious female heroine/anti-hero (why not). He played it very Clint Eastwood, which was *fine*. but I wanted to see more out of him. Not enough range here to really get invested.
Jon Secada had inexplicable mutton chops. I didn’t even recognize him. He was also literally the worst parent. I base this on a scene where our Joker Mclean finds a boy playing and discovers he’s the adopted son of Sheriff Secada. He then turns the boy into a zombie. Several DAYS later, the sheriff drops the line, “I’m going to check on my son”…and then goes looking at the same stairwell. Like, it’s been days! are you really only now checking on your son? Father of the year award winner. But I guess it was Just Another Day.
Those muttonchops though, are the Window To My Heart
There was also a random appearance by the lead singer of Everclear. I mean…what? Why? This is a boy band movie, Everclear was an alt rock band. This ain’t Santa Monica, you’ve lost your way, movie. Lost it bad.
This is a fun movie that was wayyyy better than it had any right to be considering the players involved. The backstreet boys, n’sync and O’town actually made an incredible decent movie. One that was…God I loathe myself…Larger Than Life.