Of the many deliberately ludicrous and over-the-top nature-gone-made films to be released in the wake of Sharknado, Zombeavers is one of the most impressive. Certainly, it’s probably the best film that will ever made about zombie beavers.
The film takes place in one of those isolated areas of rural America where cell phones don’t work, everyone drives a pickup truck, and nobody would dare be seen without a shotgun in his hands. Of course, if you’ve ever seen a horror movie before than you know that any area this isolated is going to inevitably be ground zero in a mutant beaver attack.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s all John Mayer’s fault. Yes, that’s right, John “Your Body Is A Wonderland” Mayer. He makes his feature film acting debut here, playing a dumbass trucker who, after his truck collides with a deer, ends up losing a barrel of toxic waste. That barrel rolls into a nearby lake where it turns the local beaver population into zombeavers!
(Whenever I watch anything on Netflix, I always turn on the closed captioning. One of the joys of watching Zombeavers came from getting to read sentences like “Zombeavers growl,” at the bottom of the screen.)
Meanwhile, three sorority sisters are spending the weekend at a nearby cabin. Jenn (Lexi Atkins) is depressed because she caught her boyfriend cheating on her. Zoe (Cortney Palm) is sarcastic, uses “bitch” as a term of affection, and owns a puppy named Gosling. (I related to Zoe, despite being a cat person.) Mary (Rachel Melvin) owns the cabin and is determined to have the perfect girls weekend. Unfortunately, those plans are ruined by both the surprise arrival of their boyfriends and a sudden zombeaver attack…
Fortunately, there is a potentially crazy but helpful hunter wandering around the woods. His name is Smyth (“Smyth with a y,” he says upon introducing himself) and he’s played by veteran character actor Rex Linn. Linn doesn’t get much dialogue but he still manages to make every line memorable as he gives a performance that strikes a perfect balance between drama and parody. At one point, Linn delivers a monologue about how, in the 1970s, everyone in the county got “beaver fever.” It’s ludicrous and the joke is so obvious but Linn bring so much commitment to the monologue and to his performance that he sells it.
And really, the same can be said for Zombeavers as a movie. It’s ludicrous. It’s silly. There’s not a single beaver joke that doesn’t, at some point, get made. And yet, the film works. It’s a parody that somehow manages to remain credible. Yes, the zombeavers are intentionally designed to look fake but you still would not necessarily want to come across one at the foot of your bed in the middle of the night. Yes, the characters say a lot of silly things but the cast delivers those lines with both a straight face and a lot of conviction. (In fact, all three of the lead actresses are totally natural and convincing in their roles.) Everyone involved with the film — from the cast to crew — is so committed to the material that it works even when it shouldn’t.
Zombeavers is currently available on Netflix and should be watched by anyone who loves insane monster movies. It’s the best movie about zombie beavers ever made.