31 Days of the Undead: Zombeavers | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
In honor of Romero Lives!, the city's month-long George A. Romero tribute, Pittsburgh City Paper presents 31 Days of the Undead, a series of reviews and essays about zombie media. Look for new posts going up every day from now through Oct. 31.

Zombeavers (2014)
Zombie breakouts have a way of lobotomizing the living as much as the undead. The infected operate on pure instinct, their sole focus being the proliferation of the disease (or whatever) and biting the unbitten to do so. The non-zombies are similarly simple-minded in their quest for survival, abandoning dignity and sympathy for self-preservation by any means.

In the 2014 film Zombeavers, this idea of survival instinct is turned on its head: Beavers bite wood and zombies bite people for the same reason hot twentysomethings flock to rural cabins to get drunk, have sex, be misogynistic and rude, and basically beg for dismemberment (in one case, penis-biting.) They can't help it.

The story opens with comedian Bill Burr and blues guy John Mayer driving barrels of toxic waste down a rural highway and ... actually, it truly does not matter. A bunch of beavers become zombie-fied.

Three friends — Mary, Jenn, and Zoe — are spending the weekend at a remote cabin on a lake for some no-boys, no-phones quality time. Jenn is bummed because her boyfriend is shtupping someone else, Mary has a secret (she is shtupping Jenn's boyfriend), and Zoe has a puppy and insists on swimming topless. When they spot a beaver dam covered in bright green piss, the three swim over to get more information, as you do. There's a grizzly bear nearby, but he's quickly scared off by a nice neighbor named Smyth. He politely informs them that this is a decent town with decent folk; the bare midriffs and uncovered nipples are not welcome here.

Things finally take off when the boyfriends and phones arrive that night — a moment punctuated by a loud fart — to spoil the girls' weekend. Buck, Tommy, and Sam are a trio of stupendous douchebags intent on getting drunk and frisky, even though Jenn starts to have one of those eerie feelings you get when "rabid" beavers are circling you and your friends, hungry for blood.

What follows is an hour or so of bloody limbs and beaver/vagina wordplay, prompting Jenn to shout "Can we cool it with the beaver jokes?" (They cannot.) The crew, joined by Smyth and his rifle, do their best to fight off the army of red-eyed beavers teething for human flesh. In one of the movie's better bits, the group boards up the cabin with ... wood, then remember that beavers have little trouble getting through wood.

Zombeavers came out a year after Sharknado but was written around the same time, so chalk that up to a multiple discovery situation — the discovery being that audiences are OK with having fun and trashy entertainment if the trashiness is upfront. That being said, this one is not all that fun. The beaver puns, the puppy being torn to pieces, and six deeply unlikeable lead characters all add up to a generally unpleasant delivery on a profoundly weak premise.

If there's an upside, it's that you start to root for the zombeavers and they're able to inflict some serious damage (and penis-biting) before the surviving humans triumph at the climax. At least I think they do? It really doesn't matter.


Zombeavers is streaming on Amazon Prime. 

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