Genre fans might be forgiven for thinking director Rodman Flender had left horror behind since his hit late nineties comedy Idle Hands. But a couple of years ago he reminded them he still loved a scare when he directed a couple of episodes of the Scream TV series and now his back with a full feature length zombie movie – EAT, BRAINS, LOVE. A movie – based on a novel of the same name – about two teenagers who suddenly become zombies leading them to a road trip of survival and possibly romance.
It almost feels like EAT, BRAINS, LOVE picks up where Idle Hands left off because this begins in a similar way to many late nineties teen comedies. This isn’t a bad thing at all though. You may have forgotten how much fun the best of that genre were, throw in some of the undead and even after ten minutes it’s easy to see this is going to be a massively entertaining flick. It doesn’t really continue that late nineties style though and instead becomes much more of its own unique beast.
The comedy is fantastic here, genuinely getting several actual laugh out loud moments from me and it’s not too often that has happened. You’ll be snickering, grinning and smiling from start to finish. What other film would have you laugh at the line “I need to eat a rapist”. There’s plenty of quotable scenes too. For me, it had a very similar vibe to Santa Clarita Diet (which is one my favourite shows), and it’s not dissimilar to that show either when it comes to zombies. Like the Netflix hit, the zombies are mostly just normal people (although in EAT, BRAINS, LOVE it is passed through having sex) but they ‘turn’ when they get hungry for human flesh. And brains. And any other part of the body.
But the comedy does hit all the right notes with newcomers Jake Cannavale and Angelique Rivera doing excellently in the leads, especially when it comes to comedic timing. Their relationship isn’t completely original when it comes to zombie comedies (or just comedies in general) but both characters are surprisingly likeable and you enjoy spending time with them. There’s a nice side story involving Sarah Yarkin (Happy Death Day 2U) as Cass, which at least adds another dimension to the script. Though Yarkin is entertaining she’s a little underused but is sure to have a bright future – hopefully with a few more horror movies.
The gore effects are a definite highlight of EAT, BRAINS, LOVE. There’s people’s insides, brains, skin ripped and bitten apart, flesh and blood flying everywhere and much of it with awesome practical effects. Despite being heavy on comedy, the film-makers do not hold back when it comes to gore. There’s lots of it! It’s glorious to see such gruesome moments even if a lot of it is done for laughs. A dinner scene, that is surely a small nod to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is particularly painful looking for any male viewers.
Speaking of nods to other horror movies, the director maybe wanted the audience to know that he is a fan because there’s plenty of nice homages to horror which included Silence of the Lambs, Cannibal Holocaust, Alien and much more. It’ll be fun to watch the movie again and see how many more I can spot!
EAT, BRAINS, LOVE is a nineties-style horror comedy that manages to feel very current. Flender has obviously been busy with TV work but horror fans will be begging for more genre movie work from him. Gory, funny and entertaining from start to finish, EAT, BRAINS, LOVE is one of the best Rom-Zom-Coms ever.