The Walking Deceased is a horror parody that pokes fun at all your favourite zombie films. Lead by Sheriff Lincoln, who wakes up amidst the carnage, we follow a group of survivors who are determined to make it through the outbreak.
It’s a common trope of film parodies to relentlessly try and gross-out their audience as much as possible. In order to poke fun at a film or its genre you must sink to the bottom of the comedic barrel, scoop up the dregs that are distaste and disgust, and then present it to an audience with some ‘smart’ references to other films. It is an awfully cheap way to make a film appear edgy and intelligent, by pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in cinema and seeing how much an audience can take. The result is usually a juvenile attempt at humour which is undeniably embarrassing, uncomfortable and frequently offensive. However, The Walking Deceased mostly refrains from toilet humour and crude jokes, preferring to just have fun with the material it is parodying. For that reason alone, it deserves to be applauded.
The film begins in a gory fashion as a horde of the undead wreak havoc; chomping on the limbs of their victims and grasping at the living as they try to rush to safety. Set to playful music and using some effective slow-motion, the film sets a comical tone and manages to carry it on successfully throughout. Cut to “29 Days Later” – I see what you did there! – we are now greeted by a thoughtful, young zombie who is pondering his new life or should I say lack of, and latches straight on to the reigns of 2014’s Warm Bodies; maroon hoodie and everything. The references come quick and fast as the film wastes no time in testing its audience’s knowledge of the genre. In all honesty, it’s not difficult to spot many of the film’s victims and I won’t waste your time by listing every single reference. Zombieland’s character Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson, is mocked and The Walking Deceased latches on to his macho, know-it-all personality and ramps it up, exaggerating it for comedic effect. He fights to be the leader of the pack with Sheriff Lincoln as his only rival. The harmless banter between the two makes for a bit of fun, which is all this film desires to do. It never tries to be particularly clever, but does well at drawing on familiar faces in film and distorting their traits for comedic purposes. In particular, our beloved Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead is reduced to an emotional wreck, unable to remember his own son’s name – It’s Chris! –and calls him “Carl” throughout the entire runtime. There are plenty of hilarious gags online that parody Rick’s mentioning of his son’s name in The Walking Dead and The Walking Deceased uses this to its advantage, mocking it in an unabashedly stupid, yet funny way. Masculinity is an easy element to ridicule and a lot of the film parodies what it is to be a man. However, no one is left out of the frivolities and there is no gender discrimination here; women and children are painted to be just as idiotic as the men.
The ridiculous, silly fun truly begins when we meet Lincoln’s son who is a total badass. Donned with his infamous cowboy hat he runs a zombie strip club in town, explaining how there was a gap in the market for sexy, undead performers. He’s not wrong, I guess. Alas, there’s only a couple of punters in tow and they show their outrage when Chris presents his very much alive mother on stage. There is a beautiful, emotive moment when Lincoln realises his wife is alive and one of very few boorish moments is also unveiled. Luckily, these moments are far and few and the film usually chooses to offer harmless, family-friendly fun, rather than x-rated obscenities. The Walking Deceased never resorts to being offensive or insulting, yet it could be argued that it’s a bit too childish in its presentation with some jokes being far too immature. Nonetheless, for a mindless bit of fun you could do a lot worse. The Walking Deceased is very funny as it squeezes life in to the zomedy genre.
Words: Jessy Williams