Video review: Night of the Living Deb – Ghouls v girl next door

Night of the Living DebIf you dig zombies, but find the genre’s usual fare to be a little too intense and gruesome for you, then the new video release, Night of the Living Deb, might be just what the doctor ordered – especially if your physician is an eccentric goofball who is still living in the eighties – which is kind of a fun place to be.

Night of the Living Deb began life as a 2014 Kickstarter campaign that was started by writer/director Kyle Rankin, of Project Greenlight (Season 2) fame, and its September 6 (2016) release on video is just in time to get you warmed up for the upcoming season of that undead behemoth known as The Walking Dead.

This film follows the apocalyptic exploits of Deb Clarington (Maria Thayer), a weird but lovable nerd who works as a cameraperson at a Portland, Maine news station. She aspires to be one day be the on-air anchor, but in the meantime she hangs with her godawful-sweater wearing buddy, Ruby (Julie Brister.)

After a clunky one night stand with Ryan (Michael Cassidy), the good-looking son of the local water baron, Frank Waverly (Ray Wise), the unlikely pair wake up to find their quiet, little town has been taken over by the undead.

As end-of-the-world wackiness ensues the two survivors take to Deb’s seventies era Cadillac (named Otis) and try to find their family and friends before escaping the city. Thankfully, you won’t find any long diatribes about this new world, a la The Walking Dead, in this movie. The melodrama is all played for laughs and it is presented pretty tongue in cheek.

Like its titular character, this film is a little awkward at first, but once it finds its groove, like any great romantic comedy, you fall in love with the girl and root for her to fulfill her dreams and win the guy – even if a few ghouls have to be taken out in process.

Night of the Living DebThe film also stars Chris Marquette as Ryan’s funny survivalist brother, Chaz Waverly, and Syd Wilder as Stacy, Ryan’s ladder-climbing fiancé.  The veteran actor Ray Wise does a great job as the wealthy businessman (and ‘Freedom Brownie’ baker) whose greed may have spawned the zombie apocalypse.

As you might expect, the standout performance here is by Maria Thayer as the Longfellow quoting ginger, Deb. With her bedazzled eighties look and goofy, but intelligent, demeanor, she’s the fun type of girl you’d want to spend the end-days with.

Night of the Living Deb is co-written by the director, Kyle Rankin, and Andy Selsor, and despite a somewhat bumpy beginning the film has subtle moments of genius (like grammar-police corrected graffiti) that, alone, are worth the price of admission.

The Blu-ray edition of this video release contains bonus material that includes the film’s trailer, bloopers, and behind-the-scenes videos that delve into the movie’s Kickstarter origins.

If you want to see an end-of-the-world movie that actually makes you feel good, then Night of the Living Deb will do you. Grade: 7/10

Photos Copyright © 2016 Jinga Films

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.

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