Friday, May 12, 2017


Directed By: Bob Balaban 
Written By: Dean Lorey 
Cinematography By: Mac Ahlberg 
Editor: Michael Jablow 

Cast: Andrew Lowery, Traci Lind, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Dooley, Matthew Fox, Edward Herrmann, Mary Beth Hurt, Jay O. Sanders, Danny Zorn, Cloris Leachman, Matthew McCognahey 

Missy McCloud is the most beautiful girl in school and Johnny Dingle has been in love with her for years. One night, Johnny is killed trying to win her over, and soon he comes back from the dead, and wins Missy's heart

This film actually fits director Bob Balaban's directorial motif as his previous film was PARENTS that similarly was a film that felt slightly like a throwback set modern day yet everything seemed styled like a 1950's suburb and mixing horror, macrabre and comedy only that film was more subversive and kept you guessing. It was also more gruesome.

This film seems lighter and sticks more to comedy rather than the horror aspects. His films seems made more to appeal to a younger audience without asking them to think too much. Interestingly supposedly Peter Jackson turned down a chance to direct this film.

This film is a certain kind of oddity. I can see it's marketing appeal. Though the way it is presented is more mainstream. It could easily be a cult or midnight film. Though not as extreme as those films tend to be.

As this film seems more in spirit with a warped Archie comic. As it seems inspired by classic 1950's small town Americana with some ghastly humor and a darkness lurking. As it feels like it is more practicing to be dark and macabre, but overall maintains an innocent sweetness. A genre film this is not.

The film plays as a straight comedy, it not as much parody as you might expect by the premise and advertising. Though has some horror elements which is helped by it being produced by Friday The 13th movies producer Sean S. Cunningham

The film is better simple and straight forward, yet the humor seems to be more attuned to the straight laced characters reaction to the resurrection of the main character.

At heart the film is a sweet old fashioned teen romantic comedy that is easy to find a soft spot for even if not entirely polished, but obviously has a vision.

The film shows a willingness to be stupid, cheesy and fun. All while having a sense of humor about itself.

Everyone in the cast seems to dive into their roles with energy and so much glee. As they stay perfectly off kilter that show what supposedly classic cliche characters would do in more extreme circumstances and situations. With extreme acts and behavior.

There are a few future stars in supporting roles (though as usual at the time every teen looks too old for the role) This film is one of Philip Seymour Hoffman's earliest film performances. As well as Matthew Fox as the all star quarterback and football players. Who are not the villains but more the rival and henchman of the main character and his plans. Including a blink and you miss him Matthew McCognahey in a bit role. His first on screen appearance in a film.

The film is old fashioned with modern trends of the time. It never gets scary or too violent, when it comes to gore. This is more a teen film that is macabre at times but cute and funny. So it never lingers or gets too uncomfortable.

As it's themes are all about what makes a boy's heart beat. As it appears here is romance and lust in the same package. Represented by Traci Lind's character. He cheerleader and good girl. Who seems to be a seductress even when not trying.

She can't seem to decide if she has real feelings for the main character. As she does like him it is she just giving him a chance to be rebellious against all those who forbid her to even just talk to him. She seems more is into the zombified main character as a sense of experiencing something different, it strangely seems to be really sexually turned on that almost makes her seem like a different character after awhile.

The film seems styled and designed like a John waters movie with campy grotesque dark humor and a nostalgic throwback feel. Only not as much bite and never as gross as his earlier films can be.

This comes across almost like a lame quirky graphic novel come to life without strong visuals and a common theme.

This is a film that is almost but never quite there. Wouldn't mind seeing a remake with a stronger vision. Though this is an ok rental and time waster that might tickle your fancy. For me this actually is a guilty pleasure. 

Grade: C+

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