I fully intended to have this review finished by 4.20, but I couldn’t make the deadline. The motto this year seems to be better late, than never.
Eat Brains Love, 2019
Directed by Rodman Flender
DiGa Studios/Gunpowder & Sky/Sandman Studios
That may also be a good motto for the protagonist Jake of Eat Brains Love, based on the novel by Jeff Hart. When aimless stoner Jake and Cheer Captain Amanda, discover unprotected sex only leads to heartbreak and disease, the two undead misfits hit the road in search of a cure, with clairvoyant zombie hunters hot on their trail.
As you can guess, the zombies, or necros, as they’re called, are the good guys, while the big bad call themselves the Necrotic Control Division (NCD), a secret government agency that hunts down zombies before the public at large finds out about them. The NCD enlists psychics to track down necros and pretend they’re doing this great public service by ridding the world of monsters, but, in actuality, their mindbending leader has nefarious plans of his own.
Hot newcomers Jake Cannavale (whose dad is actor Bobby Cannavale) and Angelique Riveria do a fine job as flesh-eating teenagers realizing the ugly consequences of their big mistakes. After a violent clash with the NCD, they get aid from another zombie couple who’ve learned to live with their condition, quietly feeding off small animals and other monsters, a.k.a. rapists and pedophiles, which they find using the public sex offenders registry. Brilliant! This could’ve been its own movie. Anyways, turns out, feeding is the only way to keep the zombie impulses at bay. While on the run, a sweet romance develops between sassy Amanda and the charming dimwitted stoner.
Netflix’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre star Sarah Yarkin, plays Cassandra, a powerful psychic recruited by the NCD to find Jake and Amanda. She provides the overall story narration, which fills in some missing info that the movie didn’t have time to address visually, and conveys her inner feelings about situations and people. Cass also develops a bit of a crush on our boy Jake, putting her at odds with her employer, and, of course, Amanda.
The logic of a secret government agency cleaning up highly publicized violent crime scenes, not to mention zombies, falls apart a few times, however, it is somewhat entertaining to see the excuses that do work, i.e., a mass casualty zombie attack is quickly turned into a “school shooting.” Sadly, school shootings are an acceptable normal form of violence to cover up such a fantastical idea as a zombie outbreak. While it’s no Dawn of the Dead, screenwriting duo Mike Herro and David Strauss added just enough social commentary to their humorous and witty script to make this a smarter than the average zombie flick.
Roger Corman protege, Rodman Flender (and uncle to rising Hollywood superstar Timothee Chalamet) delivers a witty rom-zom-com, much in the same way his 1999 hit movie Idle Hands did, with the scares taking a backseat to the offbeat comedy and gore (a fistful of testicle, anyone?) My biggest complaint is the ending seemed rushed and ambiguous for no reason, I mean, it’s a crime to leave your audience hanging like that, or it should be. Perhaps there’s a sequel in the works?
All in all, I think zombie fans will definitely enjoy this one. It won’t change your life, but you’ll be giggling away like you just smoked a bowl. Eat Brains Love is now streaming on Shudder.