Film Review: The Walking Deceased

Believe it or not, this witless spoof has even less brainpower than the gray-matter-starved creatures it’s ridiculing.
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In a world where Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland exist, do we really need another zombie-movie satire? Sure... but not when it’s The Walking Deceased, a feature-length parody so deprived of laughs (not to mention brains), it makes Meet the Spartans and Vampires Suck look like Airplane! or Hot Shots. The entirely inauspicious debut of director Scott Dow and screenwriter/star Tim Ogletree, The Walking Deceased actually includes Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland amidst its satirical targets, which only serves to remind viewers how much funnier those two movies are.

As the title suggests, the film’s primary reference point is the popular TV series “The Walking Dead,” which has been gobbling up viewer eyeballs on AMC for five seasons now. The first scene of The Walking Deceased comes directly from the first scene of “The Walking Dead,” with a small-town sheriff (Dave Sheridan) waking up in a hospital room after the zombie apocalypse has already come and gone. Stumbling out into the deserted corridors, he crosses paths with fellow survivors Green Bay (Ogletree) and Chicago (Joe Oglesby), both of whom appear to have stepped right out of Zombieland, right down to Woody Harrelson’s tarp hat that’s sitting atop Chicago’s head.

At first, they go their separate ways—the sheriff off to find his wife and son, and the Zombieland rejects back to the Dawn of the Dead mall where they reconnect with their accomplices. But before you can scream “Aaaarghhh!” they reunite and hit the road to find safe haven. Joining them on this quest is a member of the walking dead, Romeo (Troy Ogletree), who does the Warm Bodies thing of narrating every thought that runs through his slowly rebooting brain.

As in season two of “The Walking Dead,” “safe haven” turns out to be a secluded farm overseen by a kindly older gentleman. Also like season two of “The Walking Dead,” this is the point where the already-plodding Walking Deceased slows to a zombie snail’s pace. (Couldn’t the filmmakers have leapt ahead to the show’s much-improved fourth season and started their spoof from there?) While the blowhard sheriff and his creepy son patrol the grounds, Green Bay makes eyes (and awful rape jokes) at the farmer’s comely daughter (Jacqui Holland), and Romeo—not Romero, as in zombie-movie godfather George A., a terrible joke that’s repeated ad nauseam—cuddles up to rebellious zombie hunter Brooklyn (Sophia Taylor Ali).

Even in its darkest, most despairing moments (or, for that matter, the stolid episodes that had audiences despairing), “The Walking Dead”displays a greater amount of heart and humanity than The Walking Deceased, which regards its objectified female characters with more fear than the zombies and regularly confuses transgressive comedy with ugly comedy. It’s easy to imagine Ogletree and Dow chuckling and patting themselves on the back while planning such “edgy” comic beats as the clueless sheriff shooting a little girl point-blank in the head under the assumption that she’s a zombie. And maybe there’s a way to make that kind of gag play. The filmmakers don’t find it, however, instead staging the scene with the same clumsiness that’s on display throughout the rest of their blatantly low-budget movie. No chance of reanimation here—The Walking Deceased is a total stiff.    

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