In director Jake West’s Doghouse, we follow a bunch of loutish men to a tiny, out-of-the-way village, where they hope to carouse and help one of them, Vince, get over his fresh, new divorce. From this not-terribly-zombie-sounding premise, things quickly progress into familiar (for readers of this site, anyway) territory: violent, bloody mayhem explodes within moments of pulling into the town, as they discover that for some reason all the women there have gone insane and are murdering and feeding on the men. Cue Hall and Oates “Man Eater”!
Casting itself as sort of an anti-romantic comedy (anti romantic, not anti comedy), Doghouse manages to package some fantastic gore and decent laughs into a fairly slight premise. I mean, there really isn’t much more to it than “dudes go to town, dudes get chased, some dudes get eaten, big finale.” If that sounds too slight to be worth your time, you could be right — but read on, there are other points to consider.
If you hate non-traditional zombies, steer clear. These are a bioweapon-created Rage-style zombie/mutants. They’re not technically dead, and they are smart enough to use weapons (but not doors, oddly), plus they end up mutating even further in more inhuman, feral ways. That said, they’re clearly zombie-inspired and they’re credited as Zombirds (“birds” being English slang for women), so that’s good enough for me
There’s also the minor issue of the takeaway message of the film, which seems to be “Women are emasculating, ball-busting bitches, so fuck it: there’s no reason for men to be anything but total pigs.” I don’t agree with that, but, having gone through two divorces myself, I can understand the feeling… Let’s just say I didn’t have a heap of trouble identifying with Vince as he delivered his end-of-act-II soliloquy resolving to get over his bitch ex-wife, be a right bastard if it suited him and start kicking ass/taking names.
Now, I enjoy a good zombie movie message as much as the next person, but I don’t feel I have to love the message to enjoy the film. So, despite some reservations as to the seeming message (which, to be fair, seems to be offered at least somewhat ironically, although it’s telling that the most loutish and unpleasant characters have a much higher survival rate than the generally pleasant if ineffective nicer guys) I had a good time with this film. It’s light and frothy, but there are some great gags in it, both of the comedic and horrific variety. It’s bloody as hell, and there are a few moments that will almost certainly make you wince, which I always appreciate.
Is it a classic? No. But it is a well-made, entertaining horror comedy that doesn’t skimp on the grue, features a ton of memorable moments, laughs and creatures (the zombie bride, fattie, hair stylist and Xena-esque witch are just a few of the highlights) and never lets up on the intensity once it gets going. It’s definitely worth a look for zombie enthusiasts once it hits DVD.