After a girls’ night out, endearingly awkward Deb wakes up in the apartment an attractive guy. Pretty boy Ryan only knows it was a mistake and ushers her out the door… into a full-scale zombie apocalypse.
Since Shaun of the Dead it’s fair to say that the world of zombie comedies has remained insanely popular over recent years and it seems that filmmakers will leave no stone unturned in their attempt to exhaust the subgenre. So it is almost a relief to find out that Kyle Rankin’s lovable Night of the Living Deb is one of the finest rom-zom-coms that i’ve seen in quite some time.
Kicking off with the morning after the night before, Maria Thayer’s journalist wannabe Deb Clarington finds herself in a stranger’s bedroom with very little memory of her steamy encounter. Unexpectedly kicked out of the apartment and into a zombie apocalypse, another serendipitous adventure sees her return to the arms of Ryan (Michael Cassidy) and the two battle across town to his father’s house with the hope they can find a way out of the doomed town before the undead threat spreads further.
Continuing the journey with lots of humour and zombie action, Night of the Living Deb is a perfectly balanced romantic comedy that effortlessly elicits plenty of laughs and a few jump scares along the way. With a superb comedic performance from Maria Thayer as its lead, a well-cast array of performances brings the film to life without the film becoming cheap or tacky – Ray Wise horns his ability to deliver deadpan comedy with the right amount of stupid, Michael Cassidy shares great chemistry on-screen with Thayer, and Chris Marquette cheekily steals every one of his scenes.
A massive congrats goes to Andy Selsor whose script is the foundation of this wonderful take on the subgenre. It comes with bags of heart and clever use of homage in place of the more worn technique of straight-up referencing. Taking story ideas from Rankin, Selsor’s script certainly plays to the conventions of the zombie genre but takes it a step further by going with the unexpected. There’s no Shaun of the Dead lets be zombies moments to pass a heard of the undead, for instance; Rankin and Selsor consistently work to keep their audience engaged and it shows in abundance as the end result is completely satisfying.
Hot on the heels of last year’s Life After Beth, Night of the LIving Deb shares many similarities but it is funnier, more endearing and certainly worth your time. Check it out!
Words: Jon Dickinson (@marvelguy)