Plot: Roger (Donovan Stinson) is about to take his family on a retreat to an isolated cabin, where rest and relaxation await. He loads up his girlfriend, his two children Colin (Gabriel LaBelle) and Summer (Lizzie Boys), and Colin’s friend Justin (Matthew Nelson-Mahood), then heads off to the woods to soak in the great outdoors, unaware of what horrors lurk ahead. Roger tries to be the cool dad, but is given a cool reception and turns his attentions toward potential romance, while getting hammered to the point he can’t see straight. Meanwhile, no one seems to be having fun and everyone is grating on everyone else, so the trip is not going well. But things take a much darker turn when it becomes clear the closest neighbor is involved in some murderous activities, that might involve the undead. Can our intrepid group manage to survive the elements and each other, or will this trip prove to be their last?
Entertainment Value: As much as I like the premise of a drunk, terrible father who harasses his children during a zombie outbreak, I didn’t have a lot of fun with Dead Shack. I think horror comedies have a tough balance to seek out and in the end, this one has some fun horror elements, but most of the humor is just painful to watch and falls flatter than a pancake. The drunk dad is the lone source of effective laughs, but when he isn’t around, Dead Shack’s humor grinds to a halt. This is also one of those movies where the killer is the hero, as the others are so annoying and awful, you can’t help but root for them to die in horrific ways. But this doesn’t impact the horror elements, as the movie never aims to build tension or suspense, just splashes some blood around and moves from joke to joke. At the same time, there’s no scares or atmosphere to speak of, so we just have bad jokes and some bloodshed. I found Dead Shack to be a mostly dull, instantly forgettable horror/comedy, so I can’t recommend it, but fans of horror/comedies might find a little to like here.
No nakedness. This is a teen aimed horror/comedy, so the lack of sleaze makes sense, given the target audience involved. The main draw of Dead Shack is the gore, which is sprinkled around in liberal doses throughout. This is mostly zombie related mayhem, such as shotgun blasts to the head and various other weapons, none of which is all that creative, but fairly well executed. I wanted to see the family torn to pieces in violent, horrific fashion, but at least the movie wasn’t shy about the crimson. I think a couple of inventive kills could have worked wonders, but it is what it is. The dialogue is bad, as the movie wants to be this edgy tale of a dysfunctional family, but it comes off so forced and hollow. As I said before, the drunk dad is humorous at times, but the rest of the main cast is painfully unfunny and that is thanks in large part to the lackluster script. The actors don’t do much to milk the material, however. So one point for the rare times the dad was on point, but otherwise, just bad, forced humor here. No real craziness either, once again thanks to how hard the movie tries to be zany, but winds up feeling forced and desperate, not good for a comedy of this kind.
Overall Insanity: 1/10