I remember the days in which the zombie boom of the last decade actually wasn't that bad. In fact. I welcomed it. Sure, everyone welcomed "Shaun of the Dead" and "28 Days Later", and I still believe that "Land of the Dead", while not the best "Dead" movie Romero did, is still an underrated movie (the less said about the abortion that was "Survival of the Dead" the better.) Then there were those movies that were coming to DVD in droves-films like "Hide and Creep", "Junk" and others that, while not exactly the most original films, offered fans of the living dead some light but enjoyable entertainment. Well, you can add Conor McMahon's 2004 Irish zombie quickie "Dead Meat" to that list.
An outbreak carried by slaughtered animals (particularly cows) has caused the dead to rise and eat the living. Well, tourists Helena (Marián Araújo) and her asshole boyfriend Martin (David Ryan) hit one of these walking cadavers while driving, and then all hell breaks loose for her. Thankfully, she runs into several survivors-including shovel wielding gravedigger named Desmond (David Muyllaert) and a whiley old coot named Cathal Cheunt (Eoin Whelan.)
Tongue and cheek and to the point, "Dead Meat" doesn't have an original bone in it's body (McMahon's influences-Rami, Romero, Jackson and Fulci-are very apparent), but it makes for some nice light entertainment. One of the things that helps the movie is the fact that the acting is better than usual, with Araújo making for a plucky heroine and Muyllaert doing his best as the bad ass gravedigger, though it's Whelan that steals the show. Nearly every scene he has is a riot, and he brings some serious energy and enthusiasm to his role. The gore is also plentiful, with some choice gore gags (the highlight involving a zombie having it's eyeball and brains sucked out with a vacuum hose) to amuse gore fans. Oh, and while not that original, it does offer one thing you've never seen before-man eating cows. Seriously, I'm not making that up. I cracked up hard at that moment.
If the movie does run into problems, it's the short run time and the lack of originality. The film is 78 minutes long, and wouldn't hurt if it were at least five or six minutes longer. Also, while McMahon's influences are obvious, he tends to let them show too much, even lifting from them. I'm sorry, but "Evil Dead" inspired camera work and decapitations, Lucio Fulci style eyeball trauma and a conclusion that riffs Romero's "The Crazies" in the same movie is a bit eye rolling for me. If anything, it could use less stealing techniques and scenes from other movies.
Flaws aside, "Dead Meat" is an amiable time waster that demands little from the viewer. As a piece of horror junk food, it's not bad at all, and goes down easy.