Dave (Alexander England) is something of a fuck up, and the film couldn’t make it clearer on that front as he spends the opening credits having various arguments with his girlfriend Sarah, and then stomps out and leaves her because he doesn’t know what’s good for him. Moving in with his sister Tess (Newstopia and Underbelly star Kat Stewart) his interactions with his five year old nephew Felix only compound what an idiotic manchild he is as he swears constantly and lets the kid play the kind of video games which would psychologically scar most children for life.
But hey, luckily for him in a nearby US Testing Facility there’s an outbreak of zombies, and such a thing is going to cause him to grow up all rather quickly. Of course it’s not quite as simple as that, as after meeting Felix’s teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o) he all but instantly forgets Sarah and volunteers to go on an excursion with her and the kids to a local farm just so that he can do his very best to seduce her. Which is when the undead turn up on the scene, and to make matters more complicated the army is in an all rather murderous mood too.
At first they overdo Dave’s idiocy, some of the scenes are quite funny (like when he enlists Felix in an attempt to win Sarah back by dressing him up as Darth Vader and getting him to propose via a message on the back of a pizza box, only to find Sarah fucking someone else) but his constant swearing and embarrassing attempts to win over Miss Caroline made me wince. Plus it’s a slightly laboured affair too as the kids and teacher have the effect of maturing Dave over night, in scenes that a kid as young as Felix could probably predict.
Luckily the script is reasonably strong elsewhere, finding ways to put the kids in just enough danger to make it vaguely tense, and Lupita Nyong’o is astonishingly good as the teacher who will do anything to make sure her kids survive. It’s a fairly thinly written role as it goes but she’s so incredibly charming that you’ll be rooting for her to save the kids, even if they can be absolute shits sometimes, and which is made more difficult by the film’s second strong element, a surprisingly good Josh Gad as a cuntish children’s tv presenter who only cares about himself and finds the kids an enormous annoyance.
In what could have been a disastrous move Gad’s character creates a lot of very funny moments by being such an egotistical, self obsessed twat, and because he’s so unlikeable he helps make Dave a far more bearable character than he would have been otherwise. Unfortunately there are a few minor problems, and the film spends far too long holed up in a gift shop rather than the characters running away from or killing zombies, and Dave’s transformation from twat to good guy is trite, but mostly this is a well written, knowing affair that wrings a good few laughs from it’s concept.