TADFF15: Night of the Living Deb

A ditsy wannabe reporter meets the man of her dreams right before a zombie apocalypse in Night of the Living Deb. Deb Clarington (Maria Thayer) is a very awkward news camera operator in the town of Portland, Maine. On the eve of the Fourth of July, Deb meets Chaz Waverly (Chris Marquette), the apparent man of her dreams. While the encounter initially seems to ends after a one night stand, Deb and Chaz are forced to team up when they realize that overnight Portland became swarming with zombies. As they head to the home of Chad’s father Frank (Ray Wise), Deb and Chaz begin to bond during the zombie apocalypse.

It was in 2004 when Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead introduced the concept of the rom-zom-com (romantic zombie comedy). With a similarly pun-based title, Kyle Rankin’s Night of the Living Deb also tries to combine the romantic comedy genre with a zombie apocalypse. However, the problem here is that, while Shaun of the Dead featured an equal balance of romantic comedy and zombie horror, Night of the Living Dead leans very heavily on the romantic comedy side, with the zombies spending much of the film in the background.

Night of the Living Deb is full of rom-com cliches, such as Deb’s horny overweight Christmas-loving best friend Ruby (Julie Brister) and the fact that Deb has a rival for Chaz’s affections in the form of his (ex-)finance Stacey (Syd Wilder). Then of course, the film does rewrite a few of the familiar zombie tropes, in order to serve the story of the film. That all said, the film does have a stand-out supporting performance by Ray Wise as Chad’s brownie-loving father. Altogether, Night of the Living Deb is a rom-zom-com with too much rom-com and not enough zom.

6 / 10 stars

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).