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Dorm of the Dead (2007) – Movie Review

Dorm of the Dead DVD cover art

Written & Directed by: Donald Farmer
Starring: Ciara Richards, Adrienne Eder, Tiffany Shepis, Jackey Hall, Christopher Slade

My Advice: Aim for the head.

You know: kids these days. Used to be, the popular kids would pick on the unpopular kids and the unpopular kids would get back at the popular kids as best they could and sure, there’d be trauma and drama. Still, that was all an accepted part of growing up and learning to hate mankind. But never would anybody think of taking infected zombie blood and using that for revenge. Okay, sure, maybe if some jackass murdered your family and fed them to you. Maybe. But for laughing at you in class? Sweet Jebus. Anyway, that’s exactly what happens when stuck-up bitch Clare (Hall) decides to get even with Allison and Sarah (Eder and Richards). And somewhere in this mess, there’s a thing about a mad scientist/college professor. Oh, and boobs.

[ad#longpost]Okay, so after an initial inexplicable zombie feeding frenzy, which includes a zombie make-out session (umm…), a zombie mini kung fu fight (uhhh…) and then zombies carrying away their victim (back to their nest to feed the young zombies there?), we get breasts. Then, after the opening credits, we cut immediately to a lesbian make-out session (shot as one step up from YouTube quality with one young lady who obviously wasn’t into the whole nudity thing), as though the filmmakers realized that they needed to really amp up the sexy bits in order to take our minds off of what we just saw and would continue to suffer through.

Characters are introduced from nowhere and then killed, which is fortunate, because what we know about them is so ridiculously annoying that we want them to die quickly. This is what the film does right, and I’ll give it credit for that: so many horror movies don’t have the decency to kill the deserving straightaway. This one only starts to make that mistake about…well, sixteen minutes in. Then you wind up with annoyance backlog and the simple fact that, honestly, everyone just needs to get a headshot.

As for the technical aspects of the film, it was absolutely fine. As long as you completely ignore the fact it needed an audio technician, a lighting director, somebody to handle continuity, and an editor. And I understand this is being shot with a single camera (or at least that’s what I take away from it) but tilting so you’re shooting at a 45-degree angle is not the best notion. Tip for budding directors and cinematographers: vertigo is not an adequate replacement for suspense.

It’s not that there’s nothing good in the film. One thing is almost worth the price of admission: a drive-in scene where chowing down is done with a vintage lobby concession advert playing in the background. Now THAT is genius, folks. I wish they had had an editor to cut the scene before the joke went stale, though.

And the acting isn’t a lost cause completely: I must say that Jackey Hall’s performance as Clare actually grew on me as time went on, I’m scared to say. On one hand, she doesn’t seem like a real person. She seems like somebody who’s reading lines from a cue card, and doing so badly. On the other hand, I knew people in high school and college exactly like that. So maybe she’s just so bad she’s come back around again to be good. I don’t know.

And Eder and Richards actually seem to improve as the film progresses. Granted, a crying scene with Sarah should have been cut down (editor?) to make it more effective, but they’re actually the standouts of the cast. And the ending is fairly pointless. It’s almost like they just ran out of budget and time and decided to call it a day. Which is fine, because at sixty-five minutes, it was already way past time to be over. In fact, if I could have managed to stumble through the DVD features, I could have made this a full-blown DVD review, but I had already sacrificed too many brain cells just making it through the feature.

I was just talking to Siege earlier about this: indie low budget horror movies are kind of like dumb puppies. No matter what stupid thing they do, it’s sort of hard to find it within oneself to dropkick them. But this film pissed on the sofa one too many times. So. “Mega-bummer.” Go rent Night of the Creeps instead and let’s just forget the whole thing.

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