What happens when you mix weed, zombies, tons of gore, and almost no budget? You get Bong of the Dead, a straight-to-dvd horror-comedy movie. And while I like horror, comedy, a mix of the two (Shaun of the Dead -- so so good), and even some low-budget films, this feels like the excesses of a high school horror fan on a trip.

For what it's worth, here's the plot. Meteors have crashed onto Earth, releasing fumes (or something) that turn some people into zombies who attack others, then happily sit around eating the flesh of their victims, of other zombies, or their own. Governments and media have collapsed, yet somehow the zombies have been moved into the Danger Zone and other areas are free of them.
Edwin (Mark Wynn) spends his days in the semi-post-apocalyptic world getting stoned with his buddy Tommy (Jy Harris). Edwin's latest discovery is that fertilizing his marijuana with powdered zombie brains makes the plants grow amazingly tall and fast. But they smoked all of their stash, so it's time for a road trip to the Danger Zone to get some zombie brains! Along the way is the obligatory tough-sexy-mechanic chick Leah (Simone Bailly), who thinks the two losers are on their way to Freedom Town. There are also zombie attacks, zombie-powered plumbing, a wannabe zombie general (with an army of two), and blood and guts. Lots and lots and lots of blood and guts.

While Hollywood often uses special effects as a substitute for plot, dialogue, or intelligence, Bong of the Dead does the same -- but with gore and cliches. The makers of this must have gotten a discount on fake blood and body parts, because limbs are flying, wounds are probed, guts are eaten, and blood spilled everywhere. As for cliches, there are numerous montages (armoring a vehicle, friends goofing around, slow-motion battle scenes), a semi-titillating shower scene, the lovable losers who somehow are the heroes, and lots of cursing.

Bong of the Dead is fundamentally juvenile. Rather than try for any parody of the genre, or anything new with the genre, or anything creative or smart, this movie settles for violence and gore for its own sake -- along with bad acting and a near-total absence of plot or well-written dialogue. Bong of the Dead feels like it was made by a high school student who just kept saying "Wouldn't it be cool if..." without bothering with anything like quality. This one was painful.

Overall grade: F
Reviewed by James Lynch

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