Monday, February 25, 2008

Movies: Now who's the dork?

There's really very few good things I can say about the German zombedy Night of the Living Dorks. In this film's defense, I feel I brought the flick upon myself. I picked up the case as the rental place, read the description, and saw that it promised to be a combination of wacky '80s high school comedy and zombie horror flick. I believe, though I could swear to it, that it had some really unhelpful bit of generic praise – "This is so cool!!!" – attributed to Ain't It Cool or some similar site on the cover.

So, basically, I knew exactly what I was getting into. And yet, of my own free will, being of sound mind and body, I rented it anyway.

I don't know. Some self-destructive urge, I guess.

The plot of NoLD goes thusly: You've got a trio of best friend dorks. There's are nebbish hero, who lusts after the hyper-Aryan "Officially Hottest Girl in School." Unfortunately, the OHGiS, pronounced "Oh-Jis," is inevitably dating a rich and buff sadist who takes Dork 1's panting interest in the OHGiS as justification for ritualistic humiliation. Dork 2 is the "wacky" one. Somehow, despite the kid's bounty of sexual experience, limitless supply of drugs, and seemingly effortless access to alcohol, this kid remains a dork and hangs out with kind of kids who regularly end up on the business of wedgies. Now in my high school, this kids vast store of arcane pharmaceutical lore and the ease with which he scores functional grade mind-altering substances would make him somewhat socially acceptable, if only in a formal trading partners sort of way. But, in the world of this film, such social achievements get him nothing. Dork 3, a skinny and bespectacled nerd, is the only one of the three who runs the risk of becoming interesting. He's actually a bit of nasty character. Buttoned down and beloved by parents, he's actually seething with resentment and rage. He keeps a little book in which has an enemies list – a long collection of the names of anybody who ever wronged him. From a horror fan's perspective, it is a promising sign. One other character deserves a mention. Dork 1's neighbor, a goth hottie, serves as his confidant and don't-you-see-you-love-her counterpoint to the vacuously endowed sexiness of the OHGiS.

The Dorks, after several unfortunate encounters as school with bullies and whatnot, end up tagging along with Goth Girl and her ebon-clad amigos who, somehow, have scored the ashes of a genuine zombie (we this zombie get cremated in a short expository scene prior to the opening credits), and intend to use it in a magic ritual. The ritual's a bust, but the Dork Triumvirate ends up get good and covered in powdered zombie. On the way back home from the ritual, they get involved in a fatal care wreck and all die.

Had the movie actually ended there, I would have been completely happy.

Unfortunately, there's more. The Stupor Friends come back as zombies (highly-functional articulate zombies) and soon realize that being undead has some advantages. They can no longer be hurt, they've got extraordinary strength, and they no long need worry about alcohol poisoning. Now, blessed with un-life, Dork 1 can fight back against the bully and make sweet, sweet zombie love to the OHGiS.

Oh, if only it were all that easy. First, the boys have to figure out how to keep their rapidly disintegrating bodies from completely falling apart. Second, they got to deal with Dork 3's "Trenchcoat Mafia" grade anger management problems. Dork 3, you see, rapidly develops an insatiable hunger for human flesh and decides, rather than laying chicks, he'd prefer to eat his way through his enemy lists.

To consider Night of the Living Dorks is to give it too much credit. It is a horror comedy that is neither horrific or comedic. The movies premise is a dog. The one promising possibility, that Dork 3 gets really creepy and gives the movie some real edge, never gets played for anything but laughs (and not even really that because the filmmakers can't seem to get laughs out of anything).

I'm trying to think hard about something nice to say about this flick and here's what I can come up with:

First, it is nice to see a zombie flick that returns to the magical, voodoo-based model. It's been a long time since we've had a zombie that wasn't the product of chemical weapons or a virus or whatever.

Second, the OHGiS takes her shirt off and she has lovely breasts. Not spectacular breasts, mind you. Not the sort of breasts that can carry an entire feature. But they make a game effort to save the film and I don't think they should be accountable for what ultimately transpires.

That's all I got.


Anonymous said...

Of course, due to my contrary nature, your review makes me WANT to see this film.

Other than contrariness, I have no other explanation.

CRwM said...

Don't do it! Please! I beg you!