The unlikely setting for this macabre adventure is Wales, and our ‘heroes’ are a group of young friends who have come to realise that the world (or at least there part of it) has become stricken with an outbreak of the undead. Strangely, it appears to be localised to the old folk as Ed (Carroll) finds out when he wakes up to find his Nan in the kitchen frying his pet cat. Ringing around his mates, they attempt to come up with a plan to get to safety and avoid being munched on by the false teeth-wearing septuagenarians
Although largely being marketed as a comedy horror film in the vein of Shaun of the Dead, what we actually have here is a little less broad in the humour department; there are certainly some moments that will raise a smile, but nothing to make you laugh out loud in the lads’ banter. However, it certainly doesn’t let up when it comes to the gore and shocks. It’s barely ten minutes in when we’re confronted with our first wrinkled zombie and although the pace of the narrative wavers a little, there’s very little let up in the action. Writer/director Tudley James manages to use some tried and trusted cinematic techniques to make the clearly low-budget film feel like a blockbuster, even if the shot-on-digital quality betrays it. It doesn’t shy away from the gore, either, with some impressive prosthetics and passable CGI meaning we get an array of dismembered body parts and a bitten-off penis for good measure.
As one would expect with a low-budget effort, the acting is variable, but nothing too jarring and the cast certainly have a lot of energy and give it their all. That extends to the game old folk who are plastered in make-up and get to have lots of fun attempting to kill and eat the teens.
You might be amused and lured by the quirky title, but Granny of the Dead has much more going for it. It might not reach the lofty commercial heights of Edgar Wright’s classic, but neither does it simply ape or riff on it.
GRANNY OF THE DEAD / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: TUDLEY JAMES / STARRING: MARCUS CARROLL, ABIGAIL HAMILTON, OLIVER FERRIMAN, WILLAIM HUW / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW