Horror comedy is a genre that despite its appeal doesn’t get the attention it needs. When the genre hits, it hits with belly laughs but sometimes it can find itself somewhere in the middle between great and good and still offer enough enjoyment to make it a solid watch. That’s the case for Eat Brains Love, currently screening at the virtual Chattanooga Film Fest.
Directed by Idle Hands director Rodman Flender, and written by Mike Herro, David Strauss, Eat Brains Love is a zombie rom-com focused on a sexually transmitted zombie virus and high school students. In the film, an ordinary lunch hour explodes with hyperviolence when a stoner and a cheerleader suddenly eat half their class in their high school cafeteria. Having contracted the zombie virus, Jake (Jake Cannavale) and Amanda (Angelique Rivera), the stoner and cheerleader respectively, end up on the run from Cass (Sarah Yarkin), a teen psychic sent by the government’s top-secret Necrotic Control Division, to track them down as they search for a cure.
The story cycles through Cass and Jake’s perspectives, with each offering their own narration for the events that they’re involved in. Individually, the characters aren’t necessarily well written, but the actors behind them bring enough charisma to their roles that they make up for the excessively tropey dialogue.
The target audience is a little unsure. With a younger cast and what feels to be an attempt at teen humor that doesn’t land half the time, I’m unsure if this is supposed to be a zombie rom-com for people my age or a younger crowd. That said, much of the film’s humor uses the 90s and early aughts humor that brings some nostalgia but at the same time misses the mark in 2020. From outdated edgy humor to social media jokes about Twitter that date the film, Eat Brains Love is stuck in the past.
But the film isn’t all bad, in fact, it ends up right in the middle with some great b-horror gore effects and killer campy performances from its leads Cannavale and Rivera. There are moments of true humor, like zombies working their way through a sex offender registry and a Cass falling in like with Jake through visions she has of him while she tracks him down. Additionally, the humor in the violence is where it really shines for Eat Brains Love. The gore effects work is top-notch camp and one particular scene at the zombie dinner table is both hilarious and fun.
Finally, despite its fault, the zombie lore of the film is unique and interesting. It’s not only the fact that zombies in Eat Brains Love get that way through unprotected sex but because they don’t look like zombies 100% of the time. Instead, they transform when hungry or excited, sexually or through anger. This offers an interesting dynamic and the fact that there is a government organization whose sole purpose is to capture the undead adds another layer. While the psychic nature of it all is a weird element, it serves as a way to push the plot forward and as exposition.
Overall, Eat Brains Love is fine for what it is: a zombie rom-com with an undefined target audience age with humor that came straight from the 90s. But, I’d be lying if I said that the film isn’t a fun romp with actors that know how to sell the script.
Eat Brains Love is currently available on VoD.
Eat Brains Love
Eat Brains Love is fine for what it is: a zombie rom-com with an undefined target audience age with humor that came straight from the 90s. But, I’d be lying if I said that the film isn’t a fun romp with actors that know how to sell the script.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.