Zombie Honeymoon (2005)

Newlyweds Danny (Graham Sibley) and Denise (Tracy Coogan) spend their Honeymoon at the Jersey Shore. The two are madly in love and planning one day to move to Portugal, where surfer Danny hopes to catch some serious waves. While lounging on the beach, Denise notices a strange figure energe from the ocean. The mysterious being attacks Danny, who ends up getting a mouthful of the creature’s black vomit. Rushed to the emergency room, he goes onto cardiac arrest and dies. Denise is devistated, until Danny awakes ten minutes later in seemingly perfect health. After staying in the hospital for observation (during which time, one would assume, somebody would have noticed that his heart wasn’t beating, or that he had no pulse, or the below 80 temperature, but no), the couple return home. Unfortunately, Danny’s hospital roommate has vanished, a nosy police officer has come by to investigate, and the vegetarian Danny has begun craving meat, particularly human flesh…

This was a movie I had caught the end of on cable a while back, with the intention of seeing in full later on, only to forget and end up tracking down on DVD years later. The title would have you believe that the film is a wacky romantic comedy with horror elements; in fact, it’s a romantic drama that deconstructs the Zombie Apocalypse trope by focusing on the elements of an isolated incident. Unlike Night of the Living Dead and other films of it’s ilk, there is no outer chaos, no mass statistic that allows the viewer to write off the deaths of millions as exposition, only the internal destruction of a human life and the future that might have been. Likewise, unlike the classic Romero Zombie, Danny is much closer to the Death Becomes Her living dead, in that he remains sentient and the decomposition happens on a more gradual level, mimicking a terminal illnes, although the cannibalism remains (according to the commentary, director David Gebroe based the film on his brother-in-law Danny, who was killed in a surfing accident just before moving to Portugal, with the zombification representing the stages of grief). There is no hint or clue provided as to why the infection occurs, although one of the benefits of setting your story in Jersey is that any mutation or horrible abomination is pretty much self explanatory.

Aspects of the film need work. The acting, in particular of the supporting characters, is not exactly Oscar worthy, and certain scenes run on longer than they should. Effects-wise, the film manages to do what it can within the limited made-for-cable budget it had to work with. Also, the romance/drama aspect may put off those expecting either straight up horror or comedy, though the audience does come to care enough about the main couple that it doesn’t come off as forced. Altogether, an interesting if somewhat flawed entry in the canon of zombie lore.  Recommended as a stay at home date movie for horrorphiles whose significant others need to be eased into the genre.

Things I learned from Zombie Honeymoon:

  • Zombie drool is black
  • Making plans for a trip is a lot harder when you eat your agent
  • Zombification isn’t sexually transmitted, for some reason
  • St Christopher is the patron of surfers (as long as your wear his medallion, otherwise you’re screwed)