I wen’t into this film mostly blind. I knew it was a Rom-Com and that it had zombies. Funny thing, while watching this film I kept thinking “This feels a lot like Infestation”, which turns out is because it’s by the same director, Kyle Rankin. Looking back at it my only real issue with Infestation was that it was trying to be a zombie film without the zombies. Night of the Living Deb fixes that by being about zombies. Well, zombies and romance.
Night of the Living Deb, opens in a bar on the eve before the Fourth of July in Portland, Maine. Deb Clarington (Maria Thayer) is talked into making moves on a hot guy in the bar by her close friend Ruby (Julie Brister). Deb has a rough start to the conversation with the hottie, Ryan Waverly (Michael Cassidy). Though her fortunes change when Ryan’s girlfriend, Stacy (Syd Wilder) breaks up with him. This, along with the copious amount of drinkings allows for an awkward morning after. When Deb wakes in Ryan’s bed the next morning leads to an awkward exchange and Deb tries to keep his interest. Even as Ryan forces her from his apartment, into a burgeoning Zombie Apocalypse.Deb and Ryan are quickly forced back together as Ryan’s apartment is the only safe haven. After taking an assessment of the situation the pair decides to head to Ryan’s father’s home. On the way Deb stops at Ruby’s shop to check on her, only to find that she has been turned into a zombie. So she does what any friend would do, trap her in the trunk of her car in case a cure is found later. When they arrive at Ryan’s fathers house, Deb meets Ryan’s brother Chaz (Chris Marquette) and his father Frank (Ray Wise). Also, Stacy, who has been there since the previous night. Things get awkward again when Stacy tries to get back Ryan, and worse when Frank learns that Deb works for the news…
My favorite things about this film is undoubtedly Ray Wise. Who basically reprises his role from infestation. Which isn’t a bad thing. He and Chris Marquette have great chemistry once again, as looking back their chemistry in Infestation was the best part. Here they bring that same level of energy and charm.
Beyond Ray Wise there was only one performance that I really liked and that was Maria Thayer. But it took a while for her to grow on me. I’m not sure if was that her performance softened or if her writing improved as the film progressed. Up until they reach Frank’s house I found her character annoying and almost insufferable. Though after that point she became a character I actually found myself oddly behind. Her forced geek humor gave way to a more human performance that felt more like how a person might actually act.
If you pay attention you might have noticed I love me some Rom-Coms. I could easily go as far as to say that Rom-Coms are my second favorite genre, a distant second to horror. But second all the same. Here I was less than impressed with the Rom-Com aspects as they often come as forced. This is due to the dull and mediocre chemistry between the leads. A problem that the film never quite gets under control.
Final thoughts, I actually really loved it. The B-Movie camp shows in such a way that I can’t help but be suckered in by it. I know I gave Infestation a less than stellar review, but time and the over a hundred films since then has made a big difference. The low-budget and Ray Wise really add a fun charge to this film that I can’t deny. Most of the parts of this jive together rather well and those that don’t I can easily forgive. Night of the Living Deb was easily good enough to make me want to dip more into Kyle Rankin’s work. 7.5/10