Writer/director Andy Edwards’ Ibiza Undead is an enjoyable romp in the tradition of Shaun of the Dead, although in terms of taste it is more in line with Cockneys vs Zombies, which joyfully allows it to be its own beast. The basic premise sees a group of lads (and a hanger on ex-girlfriend) travel to Ibiza to get drunk and (hopefully) pull. Only airport checks have expanded to include zombie infection screening as undeadness apparently works in the same way as sexually transmitted infections. You can guess the rest.
The script is sharp with fantastically observed off-the-cuff quips to balance out the wang-dangling banter that is the guys’ main means of communication. What’s more impressive, Edwards somehow (and against all expectations, given the prior tone) manages to wring some proper sentimentality from the narrative arc without the story feeling overlong. This is underpinned by some witty prop work and cinematography that stops the more tender moments from paddling off into a mucky pool of slush.
The cast are… well, weird. A lot of the time, the younger players are a little too wooden for comfort and there’s the sign of inexperience when they miss beats and pause in argument scenes when they should be responding instantly. That said, the lack of depth actually goes in the lads’ favour in places as it emphasises that their posturing is basically terrified bravado often blossoming at the sheer thought of a breast. It’s a paralysis that sometimes becomes a little too literal.
Standout performers, however, include Thomas Worthington as clubber Gunter. He’s on screen for maybe a minute, but absolutely steals it with riotous charisma and perfect comic timing. Similar is Homer Todiwala as Az, who shows early on that he has screen presence and adds depth and a lively streak of believable slapstick as he goes. Of the ladies, Marcia Do Vales is the marvellous Maria. For all that she’s obviously set up as cheap totty, by hell that girl is terrifying (and terrific) when she’s in full flow! She provides believability rather than just volume, which is welcome as shouting is often a shortcut for actors in these types of roles. Adding colour to the motley crew are Matt King (Peep Show’s Super Hans) as the gangsterish Karl and Michael Wragg as Torval, a taxi driver on his own permanent trip. Both are believable in a slightly bonkers way.
Ibiza Undead bites the balls off your average (rom) zom-com. What it lacks in some seasoned performers it makes up for in pure, putrefied pizzazz. Yet, for all its ‘ard man posturing, it is an equal opportunities stalkathon and is all the more intriguing for it.
IBIZA UNDEAD / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ANDY EDWARDS / STARRING: CARA THEOBOLD, EMLY ATACK, ALGINA LIPSKIS / RELEASE DATE: TBC