aka George: a Zombie Intervention
Director – J.T. Seaton, Screenplay – Brad C. Hodson & J.T. Seaton, Producers – Brad C. Hodson, David Nicholson & J.T. Seaton, Photography – Jason Raswant, Music – Joel J. Richard, Visual Effects – Thomas Kuo, Animation – Hunter Cressall, Makeup Effects – 1313 FX (Supervisor – Tom Devlin), Production Design – David Nicholson. Production Company – Cat Scare Films
Peter Stickles (Ben), Michelle Tomlinson (Sarah Stevens), Carlos Larkin (George), Shannon Neil (Francine), Lynn Lowry (Barbra D’Adario), Eric Dean (Steve), Vincent Cusimano (Roger), Adam Fox (Tom), Brian Nolan (Elder John), Matthew Stephen Herrick (Elder William), Angela Landis (Foxy), Victoria De Mare (Mouse), John Karyus (Bub), Brinke Stevens (Judy), Lloyd Kaufman (Dr Kaufman)
George’s best friend Ben, his sister Francine and his ex Sarah, along with Sarah’s new boyfriend Steve, go to his place to stage an intervention because George is turning into a zombie. They have hired professional interventionist Barbra D’Adario for the occasion. At first, George denies that he has been eating people. Things then start to go wrong when Steve trips and falls and wakes up to find George feasting on him. Various others – a door-to-door salesman, Mormon missionaries, strippers invited to the party – contrive to arrive at the house where they become fresh meat for George. Meanwhile, as the dead start returning as zombies, the others discover that they have been locked inside the house.
The late 2000s has seen a huge revival of interest in the zombie film inspired by hits such as Resident Evil (2002), 28 Days Later (2002) and Dawn of the Dead (2004). Among these, the witty British film Shaun of the Dead (2004) pointed the way towards a more parodistic treatment. Not long after, the genre was deluged by a horde of zombie comedies, parodies and especially wacky conceptual or title collusions. Examples of these include Zombie Beach Party (2003), Hood of the Living Dead (2005), Dorm of the Dead (2006), Fido (2006), Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006), Zombie Cheerleader Camp (2007), Zombie Strippers! (2008), Attack of the Vegan Zombies! (2009), Zombies of Mass Destruction (2009), Romeo and Juliet vs the Living Dead (2009), Stag Night of the Dead (2009), Big Tits Zombie (2010), Santa Claus vs. the Zombies (2010), Bong of the Dead (2011), Deadheads (2011), Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012), Cockneys vs Zombies (2012), Pro Wrestlers vs Zombies (2014), Zombeavers (2014), MILFs vs Zombies (2015), Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015), Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies (2016) and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016), among others.
George’s Intervention is one of these zombie comedies and wacky conceptual collusions. It has a slight premise – a group of friends stage an intervention to stop one of their friends who has become a zombie and get him to stop eating people – that produces a vague smile when you first read about it. Unfortunately, the entire film feels like it is stuck with a premise that would have done an okay job in extending to an amusing short film that has instead been extruded to a full-length film. It essentially results in a one-joke film that drags out the few gags it has. The film has also been shot entirely in director J.T. Seaton’s own home, resulting in a zombie film that takes place in a single location – it seems a little absurd when Seaton is trying to mount an apocalyptic siege to the death when all that the zombies are doing is crowding in from the other side of the living room or blocking the exit from the kitchen.
The set-up also requires that the nature of the zombie be changed somewhat from what we are familiar with – Carlos Larkin’s George is intelligent and in command of faculties, indeed sits through the intervention making sarcastic comments. For that matter, George’s Intervention could easily be a film where a group have intervened to sort out a slacker or a stoner – about the only difference being that he eats people. Although in contradiction to this, the other zombies that turn up in the cellar are much more in the way of standard mindlessly stumbling things. Still there was the odd part about the film I liked such as the climax, which is determined to play against expectation and deflate cliches – the budding romantic attraction between surviving guy (Peter Stickles) and girl (Michelle Tomlinson) is punctured when he reveals that he is gay; Vincent Cusimano’s stoner character realises he is the improbable hero of the show and gets the girl; Cusimano is killed and Peter Stickles is forced to playact being a priest and deliver the last rites.
The filmmakers show a typical obeisance to the genre (as many of these zombie film imitators do) – all the characters in the film are named after the characters in George Romero’s original trilogy of zombie films – Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) – while even the 1980s B-movie classic C.H.U.D. (1984) is namedropped in the first few minutes. The film gets a casting coup out of Lynn Lowry who appeared in George Romero’s The Crazies (1973), as well as David Cronenberg’s Shivers/They Came from Within (1975) and roles in adult films such as Sugar Cookies (1973) and Score (1974). Lowry gives the best performance in the film, showing an unexpected flair for comedy that one has not seen before in her role as the nervous and inexperienced interventionist. There are also minor cameos towards the end from Scream Queen Brinke Stevens and Troma head Lloyd Kaufman.