03/31/2023 07:52

Film: Corpses

Year: 2004

Director: Rolfe Kanefsky

Writer: Rolfe Kanefsky

Starring: Jeff Fahey, Tiffany Shepis and Stephen W. Williams



This is a movie that I didn’t know until my sister brought it up. She watched it as I’m guessing due to working through the filmography of Tiffany Shepis. I decided to check this out due to wanting to be a well-rounded film reviewer and check out lesser talked about ones. I came into this one blind aside from knowing what I’ve shared here.

Synopsis: through pure luck, small town mortician Fred (Robert Donavan) has discovered a serum that can revive a corpse for an hour at a time. Realizing the possibilities of his discovery, Fred plans to resurrect an army of the living dead to do his evil bidding.

We start this off seeing this group of baseball players. They are played by Tyler Jolley, Tim Trobec and Jim Whipple. They draw the attention of Christopher Barnes (Khris Kaneff) who is a security guard. We will then see that they’re zombies and attack him when he takes their ball away.

From this incident, we go to a funeral home. Jerry Gordon (Stephen W. Williams) is there with Rhonda Winston (Tiffany Shepis). She wants to have sex in a casket and he can’t get into it. She is rebellious as her father is the chief of police, Captain Winston (Jeff Fahey). There are tensions here as her mother passed away and he’s remarried. To complicate it further, he is married to Helen (Melinda Bonini) who is the ex-wife to the man who runs this funeral home, Fred Withers. He comes in and scolds Jerry as he isn’t performing his tasks. He also doesn’t like him bringing around Rhonda with who her father is and who he is married to.

The movie then alerts to us to the financial issues of this mortuary. Helen is spearheading to get it closed so developers can put in a mall. What is interesting here is that her husband is helping, but he’s going by the letter of the law. Fred is behind on payments and there isn’t much that Captain Winston can do. The zombies we saw in the beginning come back. Fred needs to make sure that Jerry isn’t around. There are more of them that are also created. Fred uses them to create mayhem and collect money to save this place. He also seems to be wanting to impress his ex to get her back. This creates a lot of turmoil when there are more zombies than serum to keep them alive.

That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. This is an odd movie to me. This is listed as comedy over horror and that makes a lot of sense. There isn’t the highest budget and what they’re doing is playing on the fact that there are others zom/coms out there. It references movies like Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Dawn of the Dead and the serum looks like what they used in Re-Animator. I’d say that this is self-aware and out to have fun.

Now that I’ve established that, this also feels like Night of the Living Dead 3D. That came out after this one so I’m wondering if it borrowed from this movie or not. Similarities there are that we have struggling mortuaries where the dead are being kept there. This one has an experiment that is partially the cause. I do think the prequel to NotLD 3D adds that element, but I don’t fully remember. This is a mad scientist movie with Fred and his misguided attempt to save his business.

Where I’ll go from there is the comedy. This feels like it is taking things from Return of the Living Dead. The zombies here can talk and reason. I’ll be honest, it didn’t necessarily work for me. There are puns that made me chuckle. The biggest issue that I’m having is that I’ve referenced movies that did the elements I’ve brought up better than here. I follow the adage to not bring up a better movie when taking about a lesser version which hurts this one. It doesn’t do enough original for me for this to stand out.

With that taken care of, I’ll go to the acting. It isn’t good, even from actors that I respect. I don’t necessarily think it is them though. It feels like this was played for laughs so the acting reflects that. Fahey is fine here. He’s probably the best. My problem with him is where he goes for the climax. It fits the character, but I was checked out then. Shepis seems like she’s having fun and we see her in her underwear. That is about the extent there. Williams is fine and probably fits the most with his character. Donavan comes off as a bumbling mad scientist okay. Bonini is here to be a villain of sorts and showcase her body. The rest are average at best. We do get nudity so there is that.

All that is left then is with the filmmaking. I don’t think this is a badly made movie by any stretch. The cinematography is fine. The look of the zombies is solid. I’d say that the blood and gore we get works. The soundtrack also fit for what was needed. None of this just stands out so that doesn’t save this since the story isn’t strong.

In conclusion, this is fine. If you are into lower budget zombie movies than I think you might have fun with this. My biggest issue is that this is self-aware and borrowing elements that are done elsewhere. Since it struggles to showcase them, it makes me think of those other works and I’d rather watch them. I can’t recommend this movie outside of that.


My Rating: 3 out of 10