PANIC FEST: ‘Dead Shack’ Weaves Comedy and the Undead For a Fun Zombie Romp

Film trailers quite often oversell a movie and under deliver. Seeing the first images for Peter Ricq’s Dead Shack left me apprehensive, to be quite blunt. There is only so much a director can squeeze from a genre overrun with bland, humorless television and movie zombie-fodder.

Deadshack tells the story of a single dad (Donavon Stinson) and his disenchanted girlfriend (Valerie Tian) who take his daughter (Lizzy Boys) and son (Gabriel LaBelle) – with best friend (Matthew Nelson-Mahood) in tow – into the woods for a heavily discounted weekend adventure. The kids – doing what kids do in movies – stumble upon a ghastly secret that endangers all of them.

There are no viral mutation strains, no apocalyptic wars, and no failures of civilizations. What you do get with Dead Shack is quirky humor, a zombie family, and teenage awkwardness that never overpowers the story. Add to the mix the appearance of Lauren Holly (Dumb & Dumber; Picket Fences) as the character of “Neighbor” and you get an 85-minute jaunt of good storytelling with a dash of unforeseen tragedy.

There are plenty of fun things packed into Dead Shack but what this film does with its skant run-time is makes the audience appreciate the relatability of its dialogue. None of the lines seem as though they were written contradictory to their characters and Roger (Stinson) shines bright in a supporting role that finds him striving to remain relevant and cool to his kids (POWER FIVE!).

Dead Shack recently played Panic Film Fest in Kansas City and is available now for purchase on DVD.

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