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  Ibiza Undead Clubbed to (Un)death
Year: 2016
Director: Andy Edwards
Stars: Marcia Do Vales, Matt King, Seb Castang, Simon Brandon, Emily Atack, Algina Lipskis, Jordan Coulson, Ed Kear, Homer Todiwala, Cara Theobold, Michael Wagg, Matt Kennard, Alex Felton, Naomi Millibank-Smith, Thomas Worthington
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: The world is in chaos after a zombie outbreak. But that does not keep Alex (Jordan Coulson) and his pals Big Jim (Ed Kear) and nerdy Az (Homer Todiwala) from flying to Ibiza for their summer holiday. Sun, sea and sex are what they are after. To use Jim's exact words, they aim to "bone so many sluts" their "dicks will fall off." Unfortunately Alex runs into his resentful ex-girlfriend Ellie (Cara Theobold). Her 'prissy' ways rub Jim the wrong way until the gang join Alex's bikini-clad older sister Liz (Emily Atack) at a rented villa. While Liz and her equally vivacious friend Zara (Algina Lipskis) hit the town to help Ellie get over the break-up, surly promo girl Maria (Marcia Do Vales) lures Alex and company to a nightclub run by her sinister boss Karl (Matt King). There staff use electric cattle-prods to shock undead pole dancers into a live show where chainsaw-wielding strippers dismember a wailing zombie. Inevitably the ever-obnoxious Jim breaks club rules by sharing a spiked cocktail with one of the zombie girls. This prompts a mass zombie revolt as ravenous flesh-eaters slaughter everyone in sight. Which, after time spent in the company of these charmless wankers, comes as a relief.

An unfortunate byproduct of the success of Shaun of the Dead (2004) has been the rise of laddish Brit horror comedies bereft of the wit and, crucially, heart that marked the Edgar Wright-Simon Pegg film as an instant classic. Currently clogging up streaming services worldwide are the likes of Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009), Doghouse (2009), Zombie Women of Satan (2009), Stag Night of the Dead (2010) and Strippers vs. Werewolves (2012) to name only a few. Add to that list Ibiza Undead, debut feature of writer-director Andy Edwards, that also mimics the drug-addled neon rave aesthetic of Harmony Korine's arty teensploitation fable Spring Breakers (2012). Hence the international release saw it re-titled Zombie Spring Breakers.

The set-up most obviously echoes Shaun of the Dead with the characters so preoccupied with sex, drugs or obsessing over failed relationships they barely notice the zombie apocalypse on the horizon. However Edwards bolts on a Guy Ritchie-esque crime thriller subplot with Matt King's white-suited gay club boss feeding treacherous former lovers to captive zombies that never gels with the main plot. As Alex and Ellie, our supposed heroic couple, Jordan Coulson, in a version of the Simon Pegg role, and Downton Abbey's Cara Theobold emerge such vapid non-entities it is hard to stay invested in their survival let alone their relationship. Yet they are positively compelling set beside Ed Kear in a thoroughly one-dimensional reading of the stock Nick Frost character. So bent on banging 'bitches' and 'sluts' he abandons a friend inside a zombie-infested nightclub and maintains the same unapologetically snarky, self-serving demeanour throughout. To the point that when out of nowhere the film goes for a quiet moment of introspection between Jim and Liz it rings false. As does the vaguely moralistic fate of one character in a vague allusion to Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1972).

Edwards makes a halfhearted stab at fashioning the story into an AIDs metaphor with The Inbetweeners pin-up girl Emily Atack on the receiving end of a nasty punchline. The film paints in absurdly broad strokes crafting not one single likable character among a cast of sub-Carry On caricatures as it mines a very archaic Seventies Brit vein of misogyny, xenophobia and crass Nineties' lads' mag booze addled obnoxiousness. Aside from one mildly amusing scene where the boys mistake a stoner dude for a zombie and bludgeon him to death, Ibiza Undead mostly opts for gawping at boobs in slow-motion as the height of wit. Though a scene where non-specific foreign taxi driver Torval (Michael Wagg) pressures the heroines into texting him breast pics before he come rescue them plumbs new depths of misfiring humour. Over-reliant on its trance score to keep the energy going (although Edwards inexplicably frames his club dancers from the shoulders up), Ibiza Undead exhausts an already meager plot one third of a way through its run-time leaving the rest of the film a real chore. Towards the limp finale one character sums up the viewers' attitude with the line: "Just turn into a f***ing zombie so we can go."


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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