Doghouse (2009) UK
This movie played on the IFC channel at least four or five times that I can remember - each time I looked at the premise which was a group of men go for a guy's weekend and end up in a town full of ravenous female cannibals. Ick. To me it was The Hangover with cannibals. I dumped it - each time. The last thing I wanted to see was some misogynistic English movie with whiny guys in it. But then I heard it was actually pretty good. And then, of course, I couldn't find it to save my life. Ah, thank you Netflix!
So we've got a group of guys with one thing in common - in one way or another, their chosen one is giving them grief. One has just gone through a divorce, the others have their own troubles with their partners. In fact each one goes off to the sound of his partner screaming at him. Nice. So one of them has a grandmother with a large house that will be empty while she's on a cruise.
It's in a small town in the middle of nowhere and seems perfect. The village, Moodley, also has a woman to man ratio of 4 to 1 - so I guess they might be shopping for new partners while they're there. They hire a bus with a driver since drinking is a big part of the weekend. One of their party is chronically late and they leave without him, leaving him to find his way to the town on his own quite a bit later.
So we have Vince, Neil, Mikey, Graham, Matt, Patrick and Banksy, the terminally late friend who doesn't show up until much later. When they reach Moodley they're struck by how quiet everything is and how there's absolutely no one around - certainly not the bunch of women they were expecting.
While exploring they see a young girl being beaten by some military type. They try to rescue her but she ends up stabbing one of them in the hand (don't worry about names - you can't keep score without a program and I couldn't keep track and I saw the movie). And they see her face.
Not too shabby of a makeup job, this girl obviously has something very, very wrong with her. Now they keep saying cannibal but I say zombie - the only distinction is that in this movie, it's only the women that get infected and the men that get eaten.
Whether this is a commentary on how these guys escaped from one 'maneater' just to have to confront others, eh, maybe. They run back to their bus but their driver, also female, is infected - meaning whatever is doing it is in the air since she never left the bus.
The soldier comes to and through gentle persuasion (small laugh) he admits that the whole town had been chosen for an experiment by the army to develop a biological weapon to wage war against countries without using soldiers - by having the women eat the men. Nice.
But of course something went wrong - the men-haters turned out to be much stronger than they imagined and they overpowered everyone (and ate them too). Sure enough, the men see that these, uh, ah hell I'm calling 'em zombies still have a small retention of who they were as they still occupy some of their shops or the tools of their trade.
Aaaaand here's where some of the movie falls apart for me. This town has some of the weirdest women on the planet - and I'm not sure that they were trying to say they were always that way or were made that way by the experiment. The leather-and-high-heels look of a lot of them, one in a very revealing wedding gown (torn and bloody of course) reminds me of how some guys think we girls are going to look fighting zombies after the Apocalypse.
And where the hell did all those weapons come from? I'm talking swords and other things that look like they came out of a museum. I sincerely doubt a small town in the middle of absolute nothing is going to be full of S&M women in tight outfits and medieval weapons but...
Women suddenly smell and hear fresh meat and come out from all over and the men scatter. Now we see them begin to really interact with each other as they try to simulate how it might be when we're all separated into small groups - who will be brave, who will be cowardly, and in this movie, who will be funny. In a way it was kind of like they were trying to be like Shaun Of The Dead but they don't quite make it. They made the effort though.
Now the men are in a butcher shop, toy store, and clothing shop. One gets trapped on a billboard (A billboard in a dink town in the middle of nowhere? I doubt that.), one goes into what he thinks is an empty house but is actually owned by an obese woman who seems to be more horny than hungry - but that doesn't stop her from cutting off one of his fingers and eating it in front of him.
He escapes and, along with some of the others go into the church, that's safe, right? I have no idea why in movies people think that, for whatever reason, bad things won't happen in a church.
In this church happens to be the command center of the experiment - empty and covered in blood. One guy is a computer expert (of course) and somehow manages to get the system on line. That's when they find that the woman running for mayor had sold out her town by allowing the experiment to happen and the agent to be put in the washing powder (that's pretty sexist... never mind).
She finds out they are NOT the men she was expecting and blows the computer system. There is a good news/bad news scenario, says the army dude. The bad news is the women will mutate into what he calls Phase 2 in which they will be faster, meaner, and smarter (in other words, they transform from Romero types to the sprinting, parkour types).
The good news is they prepared for this contingency and made a sonar type of sound that the psycho zombies can't stand - in fact it freezes them into place. As the women change (it was almost like watching a werewolf change) he confidently hits the big red button on a metal box.
Nothing happens. That's... not surprising. And they're coming... fast. The soldier, still hitting on the red button, is killed by Mikey's grandmother, who did NOT go on the cruise like he thought. One of the others kills her with a golf club. He feels really bad about doing that to a grandmother and wanders off, only to be killed by one of the faster, smarter zombies.
The rest continue on down into the basement - and find out where all the men in town have gone. The zombies have set up a 'nest' in the basement made solely of pieces of the bodies. They try to barricade themselves in, but if you've seen even one zombie movie, you know how effective that is.
The extremely late Banksy finally gets to town. He finds his friends on the roof of the church and, of course, doesn't believe them in the slightest until he gets his first look at these S&M type zombies and runs to get them a ladder to get down.
Being generally movie stupid, two more die even as they reach the only car that works - a Smart car - that they won't fit into. That soon doesn't matter as Banksy, poor bastard, is killed off. So we have three guys left. And the crowd of ravenous zombies is closing in...
Suddenly they all stop and just stand there twitching. One of the guys, who they had believed to be dead, had found the magic box and fixed it. He contacts them by walkie talkie and they get him. Again, being movie stupid, instead of beating cleats out of there, they decide to play with the women for a while - until of course one of them drops the damn thing and breaks it.
Uh oh. Ya know, I don't know if it's because I'm a woman or because I'm kind of prejudiced towards English horror films, but I think they made these guys unbelievably stupid. I mean ruining-the-movie kind of stupid. Oh well, it's almost over.
Unable to use the car (don't ask) they throw the one who escaped the church into a conveniently placed shopping cart and they run off laughing. I'm. Not. Kidding. That's the end of the movie. Laughing.
So as far as storyline goes, I was not impressed. The men were, as I mentioned, way too movie stupid to even have lived as long as they did, and the setup was not close to believable - even for a zombie movie. But I will admit, the makeup and costumes on the zombies was pretty damn good.
Especially when they became 'Phase 2' zombies with the superlong fingernails and morphed faces (don't forget all the leather and heels). Not nearly as good as Shaun Of The Dead by a long shot, but still worth a look. One.