The horror and hockey genres could complement each other well. Think about it. What’s more violent than hockey? The sport is rooted in combat — or at least in the movies it is, when games are prone to descending into brawls and people get their teeth knocked out. Now instead of brawling, why not up the ante and go for slaughtering opponents instead? The sticks could easily be modified to function as melee weapons, and that coupled with the barbaric nature of hockey itself could make for some exciting bloodbath cinema. Throw in some monsters and what you have is a recipe for success.
I can always respect a movie that tries to blend genres that seem like a weird fit on paper. We’ve already seen some decent baseball-themed splatter fare in the form of Battlefield Baseball (2003) and Deadball (2011), but hockey is underrepresented. But Ahockalypse is out to change that, even though its plot doesn’t revolve solely around competitive sports for the most part. I wish it did though, because at least that would have made it stand out from the usual lowbrow entries of genre cinema’s zombie-comedy plague.
The story centres around Jonesy (Jesse Rennicke) and his Prairie Kings teammates, who are attacked by an undead version of a rival team after defeating them in a cup game. After this, they must survive the night against the living dead and make their way to an arena for one final bloody showdown. Lots of frat humor and flat poor taste jokes ensue.
I’m a big fan of politically incorrect humor when it’s actually funny. Unfortunately, writer-director Wayne Harry Johnson Jr. is no Mel Brooks or National Lampoon’s. From gay stereotypes, Asians, and Trump/Putin gags, Ahockalypse covers a lot of ground on the Try-to-Offend-O-Meter, but the jokes are more reminiscent of that puerile friend who tries too hard to make you laugh. We do get some kung-fu and zombies on crutches that may bring a smile to your face if you rent the movie at 4am after finishing all the Cheetos if you know what I mean. But not even the most baked viewer will be able to overlook the poor digital effects and inability to connect to any characters.
If anything, Ahockalypse is like a series of random vignettes performed by goofy amateurs. With homages Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) thrown in for good measure as well, the end result feels more like an enthusiastic fan trying to cram a bunch of random things he loves — from buddy comedies, to horror and sports — into 80 minutes without threading them together in a way that engages viewers.
Evidently, this is a movie with its heart in the right place. I admire Johnson Jr.’s carefree attitude and desire to create a fun movie. Maybe one day he will. For now, though, Ahockalypse gets a time out.