Amigo Undead (2015) Review

Amigo Undead CoverAmigo Undead (2015)

Director: Ryan Nagata

Starring: Randall Park, Dave Sheridan, David Clennon

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The Many Lives of Jovan Cornejo

Straight laced financial advisor Kevin (Randall Park) lives an organized, ordinary life filled with routine and simple pleasures. When his estranged brother Norman (Steve Agee) calls to inform him of his recent diagnosis of diabetes, Kevin reluctantly agrees to visit Norman at his new home for a dying man’s last birthday bash. Along with Norman’s friends Wayne the racist and Ian the drug dealer, as well as his faithful Mexican companion Jovan, Kevin must suffer a weekend in the desert that quickly turns into anything but a normal camping trip.

Horror comedies that find a perfect balance between humor and horror are hard to come by in the genre. Shaun of the Dead is a superb example of a more recent horror comedy done right, along with the likes of Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Housebound, or Dead Snow, but many times an attempt at injecting a few cheap laughs into a fright flick fall flat due to poor pacing, bad jokes, or awkward timing. Amigo Undead is not only successful in its delivery of the laughs, but avoids the pitfalls of its less successful contemporaries with some sharp writing and solid chemistry among the actors.

Amigo Undead JovanAmigo Undead initially feels like a buddy comedy with oddball characters and hilarious one-liners. If the film had stopped there, not taking a chance to make it anything more than what it appeared to be, I would have still watched every second. Randall Park’s accidental humor as deadpan realist Kevin and Steve Agee’s man-child logic are complimentary, while the remaining cast offers additional, on point delivery of a well written script. I laughed throughout the entire film, both from the ridiculous scenarios and dialogue, but never once felt that anything was out of place. For a horror comedy, this is a shining accomplishment and speaks volumes to the talent of writers George Edelman and Ryan Nagata.

As a horror film, Amigo Undead gives viewers a persistent, and oft amusing, villain. Although I won’t give much away, Ed Galvez as Jovan is relentless, amusing, and the vehicle to the film’s comedic situations that do not let up once the plot’s momentum is reached. An appearance by David Clennon (Palmer from John Carpenter’s The Thing) as Old Man Schumer is also a nice nod to diehard horror fans. The effects are just enough to offer some great blood and guts while never relying on gloss to impress viewers. Director Ryan Nagata also uses an otherwise bleak and barren backdrop to create some interesting and engaging set pieces, and a more traditional sound score replete with upbeat, Western inspired music and menacing horror themes wraps around an already well-devised film.

Amigo Undead NormanI have always loved a good horror comedy, but not many resonate with what makes human interaction during chaos so amusing. Amigo Undead has topped my list as the funniest film that I have seen in quite some time, and one of the top horror comedies of the last twenty years. Everything, with deliberate fluidity, only adds to an already fun and entertaining story, and surprised me with some genuine, fresh humor. Hopefully, Amigo Undead snags the attention it needs to reach a broader audience and to find a place on the shelves of horror fans around the world. Seek this one out!