A group of unwitting teens succumb to a deadly sexual virus which transforms it’s victims into the living dead in Jonathan Straiton’s Night of Something Strange. It’s the gross out, horror comedy of the year; expect every kind of bodily fluid imaginable in this unapologetic, wild ride, crowd pleaser of a movie.
It all begins when Cornelius (Wayne W. Johnson) contracts a sexually transmitted disease from a corpse (necrophilia certainly seems to be a theme this year!). He is then transformed into a sex-crazed Zombie Beast, spreading his disease to a slew of unsuspecting victims who in turn become hungry for a bit of intercourse and blood!
There are three story arc’s playing out over the course of the film that eventually intertwine. There’s the central plot of the archetypal teens who become embroiled in a night of terror after they end up at the Redwood Motel on route to their beach trip.
Then there’s the sub-plot of the two redneck truckers, a la Tucker and Dale, Eugene (Wes Reid) and Woody (Billy Garbernia) who also become involved in the bloodshed. Each of the core character’s get an equal amount of screen time which ensures that Night of Something Strange is a cut above the rest as every aspect of it feels fleshed out and satisfying.
The comedic timing is spot on as the film delivers macabre situations in an intentionally hilarious way. The build up of certain scenes are expertly crafted, the set up has a subtlety about it leading into something outlandish and over the top, for example a scene involving the aptly named Freddy (Michael Merchant) and Jason (John Walsh) in the motel as well as the whole convenience store sequence near the beginning which shows the store clerk flicking her cigarette ash into a pot which reads; “Ashes of Obnoxious Teenagers”. The film knows exactly what it sets out to do, and knows the genre that it’s parodying well, there is no pretence surrounding it.
Night of Something Strange presents a number of familiar horror stock characters; there’s the heroine Christine (Rebecca C. Kasek), the girl next door Carrie (Toni Ann Gambale), the slutty one, Pam (Nicola Fiore), the threatening presence, Cornelius, the obnoxious sexual pests Freddy and Brooklyn (Tarrence Taylor), the introvert, Jason, the creepy female store clerk and the creepy motel owner and the wannabe macho hero Dirk (Trey Harrison).
This isn’t one of those slasher movies where the acting is terrible and the audience can’t wait to see the characters bumped off. There’s great acting all round as each character is portrayed with a sense of self-awareness of it’s archetype, leaving tongues planted firmly in cheeks. Trey Harrison and Rebecca C. Kasek have a believable on screen chemistry that allows the audience to root for them when placed in life threatening scenarios.
Night of Something Strange is a polished production and certainly doesn’t have a low budget feel to it. The make up effects are incredible and the use of sound effects are enough to leave the audience cringing and squirming. The death scenes are edited in such a cool way that feels perfectly timed and compliments the savviness of the script.
It’s a film that does what it says on the tin, it’s a whole bunch of fun and puts a refreshing spin on both the slasher and zombie sub-genres. Straiton “gets” his audience and knows exactly how to satisfy horror fans. Night of Something Strange holds no barres from beginning to end and remains consistently entertaining throughout.
Without a doubt it’s the cleverest, funniest horror film of 2016 so far!