Romantic zomedy

Turning into a zombie heats up a nurse’s sex life in goofy Graveyard Alive

For zombie-lovin’ fans who found the new Dawn of the Dead remake a
tad on the unsatisfying side, or for those who fed on it only to find their
insatiable hunger for human flesh in movie form whetted and increased,
there’s good news at the Metro this weekend with Graveyard
, a tight and curious little zombie movie from Montreal.
But perhaps “zombie movie” isn’t quite accurate; with its
black-and-white photography, its odd, overdubbed soundtrack and its arch,
cartoony characters, Graveyard Alive feels more like an extended zombie skit
than a full-fledged film.

Every good zombie movie has something to say about zombies, or at the very
least uses zombies as a platform to talk about something else (which would
probably explain the eerie popularity zombie films have with homebrew DIY
filmmakers). Graveyard Alive uses zombies to spice up a mixed-up
Betty-and-Veronica-style catfight over a man. We start with shy, mousy Nurse
Patsy who reads romance novels and gazes lovingly and alonely across the
hospital cafeteria at sleazy Dr. Dox (whom she dated back in high school)
getting engaged to bitchy blonde Nurse Goodie Tueschuze. Plot arrives in the
form of a lumberjack with zombieitis who bites Nurse Patsy. She, in turn,
quickly discovers the sexifying power of zombiedom, combing her hair out,
ditching the huge glasses, putting on push-up bras and long black tights, and
sets out to win her man back from scheming Nurse Goodie, eating several
people in the process.

As I said, all this works more on the goofy-improv level than as a
“realistic” zombie movie, but Graveyard Alive keeps it ticking
with some fair wit and imagination. It’s good to see a zombie movie
branch out from the
small-group-of-humans-trapped-somewhere-surrounded-by-zombies plot, and
it’s even better to see a story where the protagonist (for a while at
least) is a zombie, having to deal with zombie things on a zombie level.
Nurse Patsy has quite a dilemma: now that she’s a zombie she’s
sexy and popular, but if she doesn’t eat human flesh her skin starts to
peel off and she starts to rot. What’s a girl to do? Not eat human
flesh? And the movie’s not shy about the blood and gore, either; when
it comes time for Nurse Patsy to chow down on manmeat, she really gets into
it, smearing goo all over her face, grobbling chunks down her throat, leaving
nothing but a picked-apart skeleton. Yum. And gross.

One could argue writer/director Elza Kephart is making some metaphorical
statement about how women can use sex for power with a half-dingle into
something about how society isolates and punishes women, but it’s not
necessary to probe too deeply; the movie works on its own wonky level.
Graveyard Alive has plenty of skin-peeling, rotting-flesh tricks up its
sleeve and it builds as it goes along, goofing around for most of its length
and then managing to glide into a pretty good, spooky little ending. As a
cheapo little home-movie zombie flick, Graveyard Alive can’t compete
with Dawn of the Dead 2004’s fancy computer-generated zombie-smushing
effects shots, but since it has some actual cool ideas it doesn’t need
to. If yer lookin’ fer zombie, Graveyard Alive is what’s for
dinner. V

Graveyard Alive: A Zombie Nurse in Love Written and
directed by Elza Kephart • Starring Anne Day-Jones and Samantha Slan
• Zeidler Hall, The Citadel • Fri-Sat, Apr 16-17 (9pm) • Metro
Cinema • 425-9212

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