Eat Brains Love
eat brains love | rodman flender | mike herro | david strauss | jake cannavale | angelique rivera | sarah yarkin | zombie | zombies | nightmares film festival | nff | comedy | romance | united states | jim titus | ty headlee | patrick fabian | kristin daniel
Film: Eat Brains Love
Director: Rodman Flender
Writer: Mike Herro and David Strauss
Starring: Jake Cannavale, Angelique Rivera and Sarah Yarkin
This was the second film of the opening night of the Nightmares Film Festival. Just looking at the title, I figured this would be definitely was a Zom/Com for sure. Interestingly enough, I got to see the film’s Eastern United States premiere and the director was actually in the crowd as well. I decided to give it another viewing when it came back to the Gateway Film Center as it now seems to be getting its wide release in 2020. The synopsis is when Jake (Jake Cannavale) and his dream girl Amanda (Angelique Rivera) contract a mysterious zombie virus and attack their classmates, they must elude the government to search for a cure.
We are first given voice-over narration to get us up to speed. There’s a zombie virus that is going around, but it is kept a secret. It doesn’t spread in the traditional way, as it only is transmitted through sex. The government has created a secret group to hunt them down. This group uses psychics to help find where they are as well.
It then shifts to the room of Jake Stephens as he’s making out with Amanda Blake. She goes to get on his bed and we soon realize this is a dream, after he’s started to eat her. This causes him to wake up and we get an interesting interaction between Jake and his father as well as sister. It turns out that Jake is a slacker and that he failed a career test.
At school we see the real Amanda with her boyfriend, Chazz Slade (Ty Headlee). He’s over the top in his anger and goes off Jake for looking at his girlfriend. She tells him that they’re done. In class they have to watch a video about safe sex practices, but it oddly shows an encounter between Jake and a random girl he hooked up with.
In the lunch room we see that both Jake and Amanda are zombies. They attack their classmates and it is a bloodbath. The person who narrated earlier turns out to be Cass (Sarah Yarkin). She’s a teenage psychic and she’s there with her partner, Tom (Jim Titus), to hunt down these zombies. She soon falls for Jake though when she uses his weed pen to track him. This takes them to a parking lot where the Jake and Amanda are trying to get away. Tom is stopped though by a couple of women, Grace (Kristin Daniel) and Summer (Kym Jackson). They’re both also zombies and fill in the younger couple of how they survive.
The government won’t stop hunting them though. A false report is put out about what happened and Cass uses her abilities to erase the memories of surviving students. We learn that her superior is Patrick Fabian and he’s got a nefarious plan with what to do with the zombies that are brought in alive.
I should actually point out that the writers Mike Herro and David Strauss introduce an interesting concept here for their zombies. Anyone who turns is still a normal person, until they get hungry or their adrenaline starts to pump. I’ve seen a similar take on the werewolf idea, just not making is sexually transmitted. These zombies can also run and still talk actually. I personally didn’t mind this change since they went ahead and gave us the basic rules here. The title is a bit misleading though, they do eat more than just the brains.
As I stated in the beginning, this is most definitely a horror comedy, leaning more toward the comedy if I’m going to be honest. I did find this to be very funny actually, as it cracked me up throughout. Jake really made me laugh as he embodies that stoner kid character. He also plays well off of Amanda and Cass. The situations we get work toward the humor as well. If you know me, these types of films either work or don’t for me and this one definitely did.
Something I wasn’t the biggest fan of was the idea of the psychics. I get why they’re here, it helps move along the exposition. It also allows Cass, who has never actually met Jake fall in love with him. Talking about being in love, it is a tad unbelievable that Amanda would fall for someone like Jake. The leeway I give is that they’re dealing with the same thing so that connection does make sense. They’re forced together as they are, I think my issue is just how quickly she comes along. She does reveal that she’s known him for sometime, so that does make it easier to take.
To shift this to the pacing of the film, it has a runtime of 87 minutes. I think this is the perfect length. We are introduced to the world and the rules of it immediately, in which time it really gets right into it. The drawback to this being a comedy is that it doesn’t really build tension. The humor really provides a bit too much levity. It really is more of a comedy with horror and romance elements for sure. The ending was quite interesting as well. I don’t mind that it doesn’t completely explain and leaves us with a bit of wondering. I think I heard this is based on a series of novels, so I wonder if this does well enough if there will be sequel.
As for the acting, I think it’s pretty good. Cannavale was hilarious in this. He is quite oblivious and I like that he’s the unpopular guy who is in love with the beautiful girl in school. He gets nervous and it felt natural. Rivera plays well off of him and she does a bit of humor too. She is also absolutely gorgeous and we see her in bra and panties quite a few times. Yarkin is also cute and I like her as the opposite of Amanda. She is quirky and it definitely helps her role. There’s also an ongoing joke about how she looks like Ripley from the Alien films which made me laugh. There’s also a cameo from Fabian that worked for me and I’d say the rest of the cast rounded this film out for what was needed.
Something that I was pretty impressed by here was the effects. They went practical for most of them from what I could tell. There were a few things that looked fake, but we get some wounds that definitely looked real and the blood was solid as well. Being is a comedy, you can go a bit over the top with effects and still keep me on board. They were some CGI effects as well, especially when coming to the psychic aspects which didn’t bother me. The only time that it did was a gunshot that looked horrible. The cinematography was fine as well. I did like when things are seen from Cass’ point of view that it is fuzzy. That was a good touch.
Now with that said, this is definitely a fun film that has some flaws. It is an interesting comedy with horror and romance elements. I like the new type of zombie that is created here as it really kind of sets this one apart as well as how it spreads. I think that it has a good runtime, but being that it is a comedy, it really didn’t build the necessary tension. I never really felt the characters were in peril. I did like the acting though across the board and the effects were pretty solid as well. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out to me, but it also didn’t hurt the movie either. I found this film to be above average. If you’re a fan of horror/comedies, especially with zombies, then give this one a viewing.
My Rating: 6 out of 10