Being billed as “a delightfully bloody addition to the pantheon of zombie-apocalypse spoofs,” The Walking Deceased is about as delightful as Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie, Vampire Sucks and A Haunted House (all would-be parodies) were as brilliantly funny as Airplane! or The Naked Gun. Just kidding. The truth is, this lame-o spoof is thoroughly worthless and witless. Can you possibly guess what The Walking Deceased is lampooning? Come on, you can do it. Yes, AMC’s The Walking Dead, but also Warm Bodies and Zombieland with references to Shaun of the Dead and Zombie Strippers! (It boggles the mind why Zombieland would even be eligible to be sent up since that 2009 horror-comedy inventively skewered zombie-apocalypse tropes.) Recognizable, low-fruit-hanging targets aside, director Scott Dow and screenwriter Tim Ogletree (who also co-stars) don’t know the first thing about what makes a spoof a spoof. Instead of twisting their targets with an original spin, they just rip off each movie and scrape the bottom of the barrel for intended jokes.
The bare-minimum plot (not that we watch spoofs for coherent narratives) begins with Sheriff Lincoln (Dave Sheridan) waking up from a month-long coma to discover a zombie apocalypse. The sheriff cries like a baby upon being told that there is no longer any social media, except for LinkedIn, and then finds his 12-year-old son, Chris (Mason Dakota Galyon), as the foul-mouthed bartender of a strip club of undead dancers. Lincoln and Chris later meet up with survivors Green Bay (Tim Ogletree) and Chicago (Joey Oglesby), along with snappish Brooklyn (Sophia Taylor Ali) and her deaf 13-year-old sister Harlem (Danielle Garcia), shacking up in a shopping mall for their safe haven. Meanwhile, nice, internal-monologuing vegan zombie boy Romeo (Troy Ogletree) saves Brooklyn from being eaten, and the group takes him in as they make their way to another safe haven on a ranch.
The one high point about The Walking Deceased is that it at least doesn’t waste any talent. Save for Dave Sheridan (primarily remembered for playing Doofy in 2000’s Scary Movie), all of the actors are no-names with less-than-adroit comic timing. Making a film is not light work, especially when first getting one’s foot in the door, but director Scott Dow and screenwriter Tim Ogletree never get a hold of a tone and never find any sense of pacing for a spoof. Humor is surely subjective, but spoofing is an art and The Walking Deceased is just too artless to know that. From the sheriff blowing a non-zombie girl’s brains out, to the same character relieving himself on the toilet (and for those who watch movies with subtitles, the sound effect is a “plop”), to the characters sitting around and getting high, the humor ranges from ugly to lazily unfunny.
A gag-a-minute, light-on-its-feet lark is one thing, but The Walking Deceased is actually a chore to watch. Some of the mute Harlem’s snarky subtitles are amusing, and there is a potentially funny idea involving a passing interaction with “ZALARPers” (Zombie Apocalypse Live-Action Role Playing) but it lasts a mere ten seconds. Other running jokes are driven into the ground. Sheriff Lincoln keeps calling his son “Carl”; it’s funny because the son of actor Andrew Lincoln’s character in The Walking Dead is named Carl. Another joke is that upon meeting Romeo, the other male survivors keep calling him “Romero.” Get it?
For a DVD release, the special features are of the standard ilk. A two-odd minute “behind the scenes” feature has two tabs, including the “cast and crew” and “zombies.” The first documents the actors and crew having a fun time making the film in between takes and eating craft services, while the second shows the actors in zombie make-up waving to the camera and the effects/make-up crew showing their magic at work with prosthetics. There are also five deleted scenes and the requisite trailer.
Besides being boring, tone-deaf and ineptly made with a zero budget, The Walking Deceased is just abysmal tripe that gives the stone-faced viewer 88 minutes of self-reflection and mind-wandering, wondering what time to pick up the dry-cleaning, what to pick up at the grocery store, and what one could be doing instead with their time. One character exchange is emblematic of this laugh-free dead zone. “Did humor get killed off in the apocalypse, too?” “No, I think it died about five seconds ago.” In The Walking Deceased, there’s never any humor to be killed.