A group of irritating and self-centred young people go to stay in a cabin, where they plan to have lots of sex, swim in the lake, get their boobs out for no good reason, and walk around in very tiny hotpants. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for everyone else, perhaps) some leaked chemicals have turned the local beavers into vicious 'zombeavers', who soon begin attacking them.
I'd seen a trailer for this, and the idea of cheesy monsters with a ridiculous storyline sounded right up my alley. And it starts off well, with a promising nod to 1950s b-movies. A chemical drum marked "warning biohazard" falls into the water. But from then on, it's downhill all the way.
From the outset, the film tries way too hard to be funny and shocking. The dialogue is vulgar without being witty, and after a few minutes it becomes annoying to listen to. There is one main joke - the word 'beaver' - and using it over and over again does not make it funnier. If I were a prepubescent teenage boy who smirks at the sight of boobs and finds any random mention of the word "f*ck" to be side-splittingly hilarious, then I'm sure I'd have a field day with this.
Gross-out gore only works as comedy if there's comedy in it. Simply clubbing animals to death or throwing entrails around isn't automatically funny. Compare this movie to the likes of Braindead or Evil Dead 2, and it just feels juvenile, mean-spirited, and a bit flat.
The characters are universally horrible. They're unpleasant to each other, staggeringly stupid, vain, arrogant and self-centred. As far as I was concerned, the bloodthirsty critters couldn't get to them fast enough. I had absolutely no interest in what happened to any of them. Well, apart from the dog maybe, I liked the dog. Probably because he's the only one without any annoying dialogue to say. But he gets dispatched fairly early on.
While I accept that Zombeavers is meant to be ironic, I'm not convinced that all of the horror and comedy cliches are deliberate. Bikini tops are on and off, there's a hint of gratuitous lesbian action, one man actually gets naked - but (predictably) is only shown from the waist up, and people in imminent danger of a violent death suddenly feel compelled to hump each other.
The only things I liked were the beavers themselves. The practical effects are not at all realistic, and that's the point. Badly operated toothy puppets, or fake-looking stuffed animals being pulled along the ground by a wire, are initially very funny. Until you realise it's all been deliberately set up that way, and then it loses all its charm. The last act of the film is slightly more entertaining, with the introduction of the human-zombeavers, but it's still not enough to save the rest.
Oh - there is another thing that's good. It's very short. Around one hour and 15 minutes. And that's after the running time has been padded-out with outtakes. The movie sets itself up as a horror film and a comedy. But with its unlikeable characters, un-funny script and lack of scary tension, it fails to work as either. My suggestion is not to waste your money on this. Just leave it in the shop's bargain bin.
Trailer (contains all the best scenes / spoilers)