To complain about the amount of zombie flicks is like pissing in the wind. I’m just going to end up smelling like piss. They are here to stay and just because your mom and dad happen to enjoy The Walking Dead should not take anything away from a good movie. Last year brought out one of the best zombie movies in the last decade, The Battery. A micro budget zombie flick that had a hell of a lot going on. So its safe to say that there is room for more great zombies movies. This past week saw the release of Dead Weight, an indie zombie flick from writing/directing duo John Pata and Adam Bartlett. On the surface Dead Weight appears to be another in a long line of zombie cash grabs, but dig a little deeper and you see this rotting corpse has a heart beating.
Charlie Russell (Joe Belknap) is an average bachelor, living a sweet life of sleeping in, cereal and comic books. He also has a pretty hot girlfriend, Samantha (Mary Lindberg). When the zombie apocalypse hits Charlie is mid ball scratch on his day off and miles away for Samantha. Fast forward a couple of months and Charlie has joined up with a group of survivors and is hellbent on making it to Wausau, Wisconsin, the predetermined destination the couple agreed to meet. The world has gone to hell and the group moves from abandon house to house looking for a safe place to set up shop and call home. The entire time Charlie let’s his desires to meet with his separated girlfriend grow to an obsession that effects not only his well-being but that of the groups as well. As this is a horror film and not a light-hearted romantic comedy, you can guess where this is going. Spoiler Alert: Meg Ryan does not make an appearance and a lot of bad shit happens.
If you were to judge Dead Weight by the first 15 minutes you would be an ass hat! Who judges a movie in 10 minutes!?! Well if you happen to be an ass hat you’d be a fool to do so (I’m standing by that last sentence and yes feel it’s the height of my journalistic career!). Yeah some of the acting here is sub par, but what Pata and Bartlett have done with a shoe string budget and in limited time is damn impressive. What Dead Weight lacks in the acting department it totally makes up with excellent writing. At about the 40 minute mark the film shifts and starts down unexpected lane that I did not see coming. Most film maker would have played it safe and given us the same post apocalypse zombie flick we’ve seen a 100 times. Dead Weight is that film that makes sitting through hours of crappy low-budget zombie cash grabs worth it.
In the a time when it feels like Hollywood is trying to rape us with a zombie, it’s movies like Dead Weight that keep my love for the undead vibrant. Does this mean that Dead Weight is like Viagra for zombie impotence? Yes. Yes it does. I’m not saying John Pata and Adam Bartlett will have long film making career (how the hell would I know? I’m just a loser in a basement!) but I do believe they have started 2014 with one hell of a badass zombie flick! Can’t wait to see what else this duo from Wisconsin has to offer.