The world needed a buddy-cop zombie movie and it got Dead Heat. Now it thinks maybe it would like its money back, because Dead Heat is kind of a stinker.
It amazes me that movies like this get made. Someone read this script and said, “Yeah, that’ll do.” Someone auditioned Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams for the leads and went, “Yeah these are our guys! What amazing non-chemistry they have!” (Okay, they probably didn’t think that last part.) How does this happen?
Joe Piscopo is a big part of the problem here. The guy cannot act at all and why on Earth did anyone ever think this fucking guy was funny? Unlikable, unfunny and obnoxious is no way to go through life, Piscopo. He is kind of funny looking, I’ll admit. He looks a fair bit like a real-world Homer Simpson, with a a mullet. That’s a good look! Treat Williams (playing a character named Roger Mortis! HI-larious!) isn’t much better as his partner, emoting about as much as a block of wood and showing off some truly impressive eyebrows (is he a werewolf or a vampire? ZING!).
The real culprit is the script. Too many bad jokes, too many inconsistencies and plot holes and just generally haphazardly written. There’s no consistency to anything — the zombies are invulnerable until the story needs them not to be, then they go down. Applying the reanimation effect on someone already reanimated has no effect or it kills them depending on which scene is happening. It’s just shoddy.
Darren McGavin and Vincent Price are in this, and both are utterly wasted (I don’t mean drunk, I just mean not put to good use). There are a couple of good effects sequences and decent action set pieces. And I kind of enjoyed it on a nostalgic basis, since it’s one of the first half dozen zombie movies I ever saw (caught it in theaters when I was in junior high). But if you don’t have nostalgia for it, it’s probably a waste of your time.