Boy Eats Girl (2005)

Boy Eats Girl (2005)

School’s Out … And So Are the Zombies.

Nathan is heartbroken when he sees his girlfriend in a compromising situation with one of his classmates and accidentally kills himself. His mother uses a book of black magic she found in a church to bring him back to life. However she doesn’t realise that there’s a page missing and his resurrection is incomplete, turning him into a slowly degenerating and ravenous zombie.

 

Zombies. You’ve got to love them. The monsters-of-choice for aspiring low budget filmmakers everywhere, the flesh-eating hordes have been an on-screen menace more times than they rightfully should be. It’s called overkill and I’ve lost count of the amount of zombie films that have been released in the last six years or so. Even worse is the rise in the amount in zombie-comedies or the ‘zom-com’ so superbly realised in Shaun of the Dead. It’s no surprise to see a lot of films trying to jump onto that successful bandwagon but few have managed to come anywhere near it’s near-perfect mix of comedy and horror. Boy Eats Girl might as well be the Irish Shaun of the Dead because it clearly tries hard to impress the viewer and with little success.

A daft and slightly disappointing but harmless zombie flick, Boy Eats Girl is more of a comedy than a horror, with an emphasis more on being light-hearted than taking anything seriously. The set-up takes a while to get going which is a bit of a bummer given that the film has only got a seventy-seven minute running time. The main story isn’t strong enough to carry the film, the generic school hi-jinks scenes are woefully cliché and the jokes and attempts at comedy are rather pathetic so you get about fifty minutes of pretty much nothing.

The film is almost finished before the zombie mayhem really gets going in the final third. The violence is tongue-in-cheek and although the film does get messy with plenty of blood and gore at the end, it’s all handled playfully without wallowing in it. It looks a lot worse than it actually is! We are dealing with zombies though so there is plenty of flesh-eating but the zombies are never played straight and thus appear less of a serious threat. The fact there’s only a handful of them in the film and most of the action is confined to the same housing block means you don’t get a ‘bigger picture’ feel of the zombie outbreak. The finale involving a tractor and a horde of zombies invokes a few flashbacks to the lawnmower scene from Braindead and is suitably filled with flying limbs, intestines and lots of blood…..all real make-up effects too which is a bonus.

Boy Eats Girl doesn’t stick rigidly to the traditional zombie rules either. The zombies here are of the fast variety, able to leap tall buildings with a single bound and that malarkey. They don’t need to bite you to turn you into one, just infect you with some bile. The problem I do have is with the way they’re pretty easily dispatched. These zombies don’t need trauma to the head to go down – they’ll go down with a punch.

Former teen pop star Samantha Mumba is somehow back on the screen after her disastrous turn in The Time Machine. She still hasn’t improved as an actress and I don’t find her that attractive so I was constantly wishing her off my screen. She also looks way too old to be at school but that’s a problem shared by the rest of the cast. David Leon doesn’t exactly share a great chemistry with her to say that they’re supposed to be going out together in the film. It’s not the most compelling relationship and you wonder why they’re even seeing each other at times. It’s left to his two nerdy mates to hold things together on the character front with some funny lines and reactions to what is going on around them.

Despite being an Irish production, the school characters all seem strangely Americanised as if the writers needed to play the safe card. Schools around the world aren’t populated with the same broad spectrum of stereotypical teenagers so something a little more home grown and “grittier” would have worked. Instead you get the jocks, the nerds, the bimbos, etc. I never remember my class at school being as easily divided into caricatures.

 

Don’t expect too much from Boy Eats Girl and you won’t get much in return. It’s hardly going to set the world alight and you’ll forget about it the day afterwards but you could easily do a lot worse if you were pushed for choice. The blood and guts finale is great but you’d wish they’d have spread it out through the film a little more evenly to keep things lively.

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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