Fantastic Fest ’10 – Zombie Roadkill Review


Thomas Hayden Church and undead rodents. What more could you ask for?

Zombie Roadkill is the most fun you’re likely to have with undead rodents this side of getting really drunk and curling up with back issues of Ranger Rick Magazine and Fangoria.

In director David Green’s upcoming FearNet exclusive web series, all the ingredients for bloody good entertainment are present  — Love and violence? Check. Thomas Haden Church? Check. Man-eating, smart-ass squirrels? Check. Seriously, the only thing this web series is missing for maximum entertainment is a tense show-off with the decapitated head of a zombie possum. Oh wait; it has one of those too.

In the five part web series, a group of college students find an afternoon drive interrupted when they discover the unfortunate side effects of a stretch of highway with one too many curses. Due to the taint of centuries of witch, virgin, pedophile and Native American shenanigans, any animal that is run over along a particular patch of asphalt is instantly brought back to life as a blood-crazed zombie. Soon, the teenagers find themselves in the dismembered, limb-soaked version of a Disney cartoon gone very, very wrong.

Oh, did I mention there are puppets?

David Green directs this very fun, very recommended web series (premiering October 4 at FearNet) from a script by Henry Gayden. The project was born out of friendships made on the set of Spider-Man 3 (where Gayden and Green worked with web series star Thomas Haden Church). It’s only fitting, then, that not only is Sam Raimi a definite inspiration for the tongue-in-cheek animal-on-human violence, he’s also a producer. Imagine a film staring that creepy, laughing moose head from Evil Dead 2. Zombie Roadkill is that film.

David Dorfman, a young actor and apparent genius (he’s already graduated college at the age of 16) is great as the geeky kid who finds himself teaming-up with the slightly unstable park ranger played by Church. You might recognize Dorfman from his role as the very creepy Aidan from the American versions of The Ring.

For Zombie Roadkill, Dorfman shows he can play more than creepy tween — effortlessly pulling off the physical comedy needed for wrestling with zombie raccoon puppets.

Zombie Roadkill is a short film that knows exactly what it wants to be. Through the use of puppets and animatronics, the film reminds audiences that you don’t need an overabundance of computer effects and flashy graphics to scare and entertain.

While the filmmakers were clearly influenced by the legendary crazed bunny from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, don’t expect such low-tactic effects — despite the web series’ micro budget.

These zombie animals are a force to be reckoned with — brimming with teeth baring, eye-gouging ferocity. These crazed, rotting critters owe as much to Joe Dante’s Gremlins as they do Monty Python’s rabbit. Each of the puppets were built from the real life corpses of taxidermy animals — giving the critters a wonderfully deranged look and their fair share of character.

Cherilyn Wilson, Michael Blaiklock and Jeff D’Agostino also star in the film as Dorfman’s fellow luckless teenagers. The humans in the web series are there for only one purpose — to provide fodder for the undead rodent killers’ antics. Limbs are severed, heads explode, ears eaten. In other word — fun is had by all. Look for the series when the first two episodes premier on on October 4th, with a new episode available daily through Friday, October 8th.  The series will also play on FEARnet On Demand with the first three episodes of the series becoming available on October 14th and final episodes available on October 21st.

Director: David Green
Notable Cast: Thomas Haden Church, David Dorfman, Cherilyn Wilson, Jeff D’Agostino, Michael Blaiklock
Writer: Henry Gayden

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