“Zombeavers” is a 2014 horror comedy about a group of shallow college kids that run into a pack of zombie beavers. That’s right. A barrel of toxic sludge is dumped by a local beaver dam, and it turns the beaver into violent, undead killing machines!
Where have we seen that before?
Oh, right! “Return of the Living Dead.” (Except in that movie it was people, and not beavers that are turned into zombies after coming into contact with toxic sludge.)
The movie starts with two stoned employees from Mamaroneck medical research facility driving a truck full of barrels of toxic waste down an empty road. A deer jumps out in front of them and they hit the deer and almost turn their truck over. In the collision with Bambi one of the barrels of toxic chemicals falls out of the truck and lands by a beaver dam and then proceeds to leak all over the place.
Cut to the introduction of college kids that are going to a cabin in the woods.
Jenn takes her friends, Zoë and Mary, with her to help her get over dumping her boyfriend Sam (Boyfriend #1) ; the cheating jerk! When they arrive at the cabin they are greeted by their friendly neighbors, the Gregorsons. Moments later they find out there’s no cellphone coverage, but the land line still works! (No cell phone coverage is one of the staple horror movie clichés of the modern digital age.)
They decide to go swimming, because that’s what college kids staying at cabins in woods do, and as they’re swimming Jenn notices the beaver dam. Of course, she’s curious and wants to see it, so she and her friends walk there and she notices green sludge all over it. For some strange reason, they think nothing of it as though beavers naturally secrete green sludge and smear it on their dams. Which admittedly, would be kind of cool, but it’s not something that beavers normally do.
In the first jump scare of the film, a bear appears and charges towards them. A local hunter called Smyth saves them by shooting his rifle in the air, scaring off the bear.
He warns them to not disturb the beavers; a foreboding of bad things to come. Later Smyth is seen putting out animal traps as protection against wild animals and the evil, eager, undead beavers.
After a close brush with bear-induced death, the girls go back to the cabin. Shortly after that, the boyfriends of Zoë, Mary and Jenn show up. Apparently, they want to help Jenn and her boyfriend get back together.
Two of them act like typical frat boys that think only about, sex, beer and parties. Because they’re college kids, and that’s what college kids do! (There’s no character development in this movie, at all.)
After the boyfriends arrive Zoë and Mary go to have sex with theirs, while Jenn and Sam argue for a while. A few minutes later he tries to have sex with her, but gets a kick in the balls instead of some sweet, sweet loving. Because, let’s face it, he’s a jerk!
Annoyed by Sam’s inherent idiocy, Jenn goes to take a shower, only to be surprised by a zombeaver lying in wait in the bathtub. After she tells the others what happened, they go to inspect the bathroom and, surprise! The zombeaver appears, hissing at them! Tommy (Boyfriend #2) beats it into submission with a baseball bat.
You might think Jenn would be the first victim of the zombeavers because this movie closely follows all the plays in the “Horror Movie Cliché Playbook,” but she isn’t. What a twist! *sigh*
About Zombeaver Physiology
- The zombeavers have no pupils, and also look like puppets or animatronics- mainly because that’s what they are. And hey, vicious homicidal puppets are always in our book! There’s some CGI in parts of the film but also practical effects are used, which is good, because too much CGI makes a movie monster look really fake.
- It’s interesting how the pupils of the zombeavers seem to glow in the dark since they’re so dead and empty.
- Zombeavers work together, acting like a pack of wolves waiting for their prey. How cool is that?
- A bite or scratch from a zombeaver will turn you into a werebeaver. Don’t ask about the logistics on this one, we don’t quite get it either.
We would like to think that after a zombie beaver attack that they wouldn’t want to go anywhere near the water, but we were wrong. The next morning the young adults go swimming in the lake. Again. Because, boobs. Amazingly enough, Jenn decides not to join them!
When Zoë, Mary and the guys go to the swimming platform at the center of the lake, the zombeavers attack! Yeah, didn’t see that one coming! Oh wait, we did.
First Buck (Boyfriend #3) is viciously attacked, then Tommy has his foot chewed off by a zombeaver, and he totally freaks out!
The zombeavers circle the swimming platform like hungry sharks, while at the cabin Jenn is attacked again by another zombeaver and scratched by it!
As a last resort, Sam throws Zoë’s dog into the water to distract the zombeavers, and they escape their toothy maws and run to the cabin to hide. Buck is seriously hurt, so the rest of the group comes up with a plan to take him to the hospital. They try to call for help, but discover that the land line was chewed apart by the zombeavers. Those cheeky bastards!
The last night sequence in this movie we call “The Night of the Living Zombeavers.” It’s when all the action goes down and dead bodies start piling up like logs at a beaver dam.
Tommy and Zoë try to drive Buck back to get help, but the road is blocked by a tree and there’s no way around it. So it seems the beavers thought of everything. Not only did they became violent, but they also got more intelligent. At the very least, they’re smarter than those darn college kids!
Tommy tries to go on-foot, but the beavers bring down a tree on top of him. Zoë and Buck are saved by Smyth who helps them get back to the cabin in their truck, but when they arrive they find that it’s been sealed up by Jenn and the others so there’s no way to get inside it. So they go to the Gregorsons house and find them dead and their land line also cut.
Werebeavers? Are you serious?
You’ve heard of werewolves, but never about werebeavers! Being turned into a werebeaver sounds silly but the makers of the film make it seem a bit terrifying.
Jenn (who was scratched by a zombeaver earlier), suddenly has her teeth elongate and she grows a beaver tail and attacks her friends! Meanwhile, at the Gregorsons house Buck turns into a werebeaver as well and eats part of Smyth’s face off.
Mrs. Gregorson also turns into a werebeaver and attacks Zoë, who jumps out a window in the house to where group of zombeavers are waiting for din-din. Somehow, she survives.
At the same time in the cabin one of the zombeavers accidentally sets it on fire while the turned Jenn attacks Sam and kills him.
It’s a bit funny that the zombeavers manage to turn the bear into one of them too, it looks funny and menacing at the same time with those big beaver teeth in its mouth.
The two remaining survivors Zoë and Mary have a standoff because neither of them trust each other or know if they’re infected. The fight isn’t shown on-screen but minutes later you see Zoë walking down the same road from the beginning, and then the same two stoned employees from before run her over in their truck. Which was supposed to be funny and a running gag in the movie, but it just didn’t quite work.
General Thoughts on the Film:
- It tries to be a campy, creepy and scary B-movie. It succeeds at times, but fails at others and the college kids seem more like cannon fodder to the zombeavers than anything else.
- If you don’t take this movie seriously you might enjoy it. It does have some pretty impressive practical effects, and the zombeaver puppets are fun to watch.
- “Zombeavers” is not particularly funny; the few comedic elements that are it in seem to only be the stoned truck drivers and the absurd premise of the film.