Fantasia Film Review: Dead Shack

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Directed and co-written by Peter Ricq, Dead Shack starts with a lot of promise. Imagine a young kid named Jason (Matthew Nelson-Mahood), yet to come out of his shell. His best friend Colin (Gabriel LaBelle), who pushes him around and thinks himself funnier than he actually is and his tough as nails sister Summer (Lizzie Boys), who Jason has a major crush on.

Add a dysfunctional but lovable father Roger (Donavon Stinson) and his latest girlfriend Lisa (Valerie Tian) and you’ve got an unruly, immature but still adorable set of characters that are totally unprepared to face a group of zombies a few days in woods.

Unsurprisingly, the kids are bored in the middle of nowhere and explore to find a cabin where the Neighbor (Lauren Holly) might keep some zombies in the basement not be the kind of person you want to ask for a cup of sugar.

The movie spends time setting up the scenario that we’re kind of familiar already, but also building up the characters. It’s all fun and games until the kids peek into the windows to find out what the neighbor does that we go into combat mode. This is where the movie loses momentum. It really shouldn’t, we should be pumped up, we should be hitting zingers left and right as the gore hits the floor. Instead, the action awkwardly starts and stop again. The humor dies down.

Lightly recommended for the characters you care about, but the horror part loses its drive the moment it should really begin.¬†There’s some attempts at levity but they kind of fall flat, make you cringe or both. Any potential build set up in the first half is lost by the second half. Even the action seems to diffuse in the scene before it cuts to the next one, keeping the movie from building up any suspense.

That will do for now.

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