Dance of the Dead (2008)

Looking at another film entitled Dance of the Dead.

Now, it’s the final week of the October Zombie-fest and I am lazy, so you’ll get another “stolen from [imdb] plotline” but first I just want to mention that this movie is completely seperate to the Masters of Horror episode of the same name, this film is primarily classic zombie, but with a high school “prom” setting, hence the name.
Now, without further ado, I give you the movie.

At a cemetery in a small Georgia town, a local gravedigger discovers the dead coming back to life, but he keeps it to himself.

At Cooas High School, teen misfit and outcast Jimmy Dunn (Jared Kusnitz) wants to ask his part-time girlfriend Lindsey (Greyson Chadwick) to the senior prom. But she tells him no for he does not take anything in life seriously.

Jimmy’s friend Stephen, (Chandler Darby) another social misfit and outcast, wants to ask Gwen, a popular cheerleader, but she tells him know. But when Gwen’s date calls her that he’s sick after eating “bad spinnach” she finds herself dateless, so she decides not to go at all.

Kyle (Justin Welborn) is a rebelious student and outcast rebel whom gets suspended from school for fighting, and vows revenge against everybody.

Lindsey breaks up with Jimmy the day before the prom and starts going out with Mitch, a popular football star. On the way to the prom, Mitch takes Lindsey to the cemetery to “loosen up” and makes out with her. Mitch is drawn out of the car and killed by a zombie then turned into one himself.

Meanwhile, the misfit geek members of the school’s SciFi club, Jules, Stephen, Rod and George, are investigating the cemetery when they are attacked by zombies. Rod is killed and the remaining three are rescued by the grave digger who reveals that he was aware of the occurrences but kept it quiet to keep his job. He instructs them on how to kill the zombies before running off. The three get surrounded again, but Lindsey comes to the rescue. Lindsey and the SciFi Club geeks escape in Mitch’s car.

After making a pizza delivery and discovering that a family are now zombies, Jimmy runs and finds a crashed truck with his enemy Kyle as the only survivor. Jimmy and Kyle run into Gwen who’s out on a jog, and the three are attacked. They manage to kill all of the zombies with a baseball bat they find a gun Kyle carried in his truck. Unfortunately Jimmy’s truck is stolen by two zombies, leaving the three without a getaway vehicle.

In another neighborhood, Nash, Jenson and Dave the Drummer are in the middle of writing a new song for their band. Nash asks Jenson to leave because he’s not being helpful, and they discover zombies when Jenson opens the garage door. The zombies attack, but the band members also accidentally find that the zombies like music, and they keep playing to keep the zombies at bay, but also inadvertently attracting more.

Mitch’s car breaks down, and Lindsey, Jules, George and Stephen take refuge in a nearby house. Jimmy calls Lindsey to find out where she is. He, Kyle and Gwen then make their way to the house through the town sewers. On the way, they discover a substance that the power plant dumped that they believe caused the re-animation of the dead. The house in which their friends are hiding turns out to be a funeral home. Fumes from the power plant re-animate the corpses stored there. Kyle and Jimmy kill them all, but not before Kyle is bitten in the neck and dies. He turns into a zombie and the others are forced to beat him to death.

Gwen manages to retrieve the funeral home’s hearse and the group escapes with the intent to rescue their fellow students from the prom. On the way to the school, the hearse’s tires are shot out. The teens discover their coach is still alive, and quickly convince him that the zombies will head to the prom, and he helps arm them. The group heads for the prom in the coach’s Hummer. On the way they find the besieged band and rescue them by killing the zombies while they’re distracted by the band’s music. The band then joins the group to stop the zombies.

At the school they find all of the town’s zombies are there and that they’ve arrived too late to save everybody. The coach decides to use his explosives to blow up the school. While the coach starts setting up explosives around the school up, the schoolkids block all the doors so the zombies can’t escape. While locking through the school, the SciFi club members find a small group of survivors, including the Prom Queen, and start to lead them out to safety.

The coach accidentally drops the detonator into a chip bowl. Jimmy is forced to go back for it. Lindsey follows him. They are able to sneak through the gym to get to the detonator but are noticed and attacked. Before they can be killed, the onstage band starts playing to distract the zombies. Jimmy and Lindsey dance while looking for the remote.

On the way out the others are attacked but manage to kill their attackers, but Gwen hides the fact that she was bitten. She pulls Stephen, for whom she has developed feelings, into the bathroom. There she reveals the truth and the two kiss, but she turns into a zombie and bites Stephen’s tongue off. She kills him, which turns Stephen into a zombie as well. The two zombies kiss again and then start to eat each other.

In the gym, Jimmy and Lindsey are still looking for the detonator when a zombie accidentally pulls the plug on the band’s instruments, stopping the music and causing the zombies to attack again. While the other two hold off the zombies, Jenson tries to replace the plug. Jimmy and Lindsey are forced to hide beneath the bleachers, where they are attacked by Mitch, who has become a zombie. The two escape and Lindsey kills Mitch. The band manages to plug their instruments in and begin playing, which allows Jimmy to get the detonator.

The five of them attempt to make their escape, but Jenson is caught and torn apart by the horde. The surviving four make their way out of the school through a window. The zombies are unable to escape out the blocked doors, and Jimmy blows up the school, killing all of the zombies.

The survivors, including a group that hid at the prom, takes a bus to a pancake house for breakfast courtesy of the coach with a plan to eat and plan an attack to shut down the power plant to and prevent the zombie plague from spreading. The grave digger also survives and is left to clean up the mess.

Right, it is a big risk to move the film away from a group of adults to teenagers, when we follow a regular group of people it is often picked so that we associate with their personality types, we identify with strong characters and feel sympathetic to characters who are (for lack of a better term) not superman and when we are given characters we can not easily identify wth it makes it harder for an audience to accept the movie, so effectively when a movie revolves around teenage characters it can limit the amount of people who would be inclined to see it.
Now that’s out of the way, I have to say that I found it refreshing to see an outbreak in a new setting, instead of remakes and rehashings of what is established a fresh start goes a long way, but then taking the movie further and almost using it as a metaphor for the stage of a teens life when the real world is bearing down upon them, they’re changing, their friends are changing and they need an adult to help guide them through.
A prime example of this is Stephen and Gwen, their romance is doomed, just as Gwen is ready to admit her feelings she is infected and as they share their one heartfelt moment leads to Stephens death, as an objective moment we’ll all scream at the tv “Get away from her!” the second we see Gwen show her infection but as a metaphor for the transition between teenager and adult it works.

And of course, when the music plays, the zombies move.
I see this as a very effective way to show that even in unlife the dead hold onto some sembalance of what they were, not as blatant as showing a zombie “remembering” what he was, but definitely as effective.

So, all in the Dance of the Dead isn’t too serious, it’s fun, funny and a great movie to share with the kids (well, teens) and scores a strong seven unique concepts out of ten.

Originally written on a previous incarnation of Geekenbrau.
Content remains identical however article titles have been changed.


I am Silent, part time programmer and full time narcissist, gamer, geek and man on a mission.

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