Boy Eats Girl (2005)

A bland Irish zombie comedy, modelled rather too obviously on American teen movies in general - with a particular, unacknowledged debt to My Boyfriend's Back in particular. A lengthy series of contrivances to do with nervous schoolboy hero Nathan (David Leon) and his attempt to tell a longtime friend (Samantha Mumba) he is in love with her lead to the teenager semi-accidentally hanging himself, whereupon his devoted mother (Deirdre O'Kane) uses a forbidden book of voodoo spells which happens to be stashed in the basement of the local church to bring him back to life. Thanks to a missing page, a crucial ingredient is left out of the spell, and Nathan revives as a potential cannibal. Without a pulse or blood pressure (this is perhaps the first film to deal with the problem of erectile disfunction among the undead), Nathan attends the school disco, where he is overcome by zombie instincts and bites the rugby-playing bully (Mark Huberman), who proceeds to spread the usual plague of flesh-eating zombiedom among the locals.

It contrasts very poorly with Shaun of the Dead, which wholly embraced its Britishness for contrast with the American conventions of the zombie genre; Boy East Girl loses all its cultural specificity (it was even mostly shot on the Isle of Man) and just seems a stumbling imitation of lesser American films, to the extent of casting apparently thirtyish teenagers and presenting a view of school life which is a cartoon idea of American teendom not remotely credible as Irish. It gets gruesome in the home stretch, with a combine harvester massacre rather like the one in Evil Aliens and gore all over the floor – but a handy snake, whose presence in the famously snake-free Ireland is never explained, provides the final ingredient and restores the hero to normal life. Directed by Stephen Bradley; scripted by Derek Landy.

First published in this form here.

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