Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nicholas Braun, Mackenzie Davis, Josh Fadem, Denis Leary, Ed Westwick, Vanessa Hudgens, Keegan-Michael Key, Bob Odenkirk, Joan Cusack, Chris Zylka, Ian Roberts, Rachael Harris, Mae Whitman, Patton Oswalt, Pat Healy
Written by: Oren Uziel
Directed by: Robbie Pickering
MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence and gore, pervasive language, sexual content and drug use - all involving teens
Running Time: 92
Date: 10/30/2015

Freaks of Nature (2015)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Monsters Sync

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This horror-comedy starts off with a good idea, i.e. monsters learning to work together, but doesn't take it very far. The likable characters and a few laughs are the only worthwhile things in it. Nicholas Braun, Mackenzie Davis, and Josh Fadem effectively convey a sense of teen alienation and dissatisfaction; when they work together, it's all the more satisfying.

In the town of Dillford (home of the riblet!), humans, zombies, and vampires live together under an uneasy truce. Teen ballplayer Dag (Nicholas Braun) has trouble fitting in, and has an unrequited crush on Lorelei (Vanessa Hudgens). Petra (Mackenzie Davis) has a crush on a vampire boy and lets him bite her, turning into a vampire herself. And Ned (Josh Fadem), the misunderstood smart kid in school, allows himself to be bitten by a zombie, hoping to get rid of his troubles. When aliens invade and the townspeople take to the streets in an all-out riot, this unlikely trio must band together to find a way to survive and perhaps even save the town.

However, as written by Oren Uziel (a co-writer on 22 Jump Street), the movie has surprisingly few laughs, especially given such big-time comic talents in supporting roles (Denis Leary, Bob Odenkirk, Joan Cusack, Patton Oswalt, etc.) Only Werner Herzog conjures up a chuckle as the voice of the lead alien, but that's mainly because of the casting choice, not because of anything he actually says. It could be that, perhaps, the filmmakers were busy trying to make a dirty, R-rated comedy instead of creating comedy out of their initial idea. Pat Healy appears as a zombie priest.

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