Other Worlds Austin: Night of the Living Deb

I Love Lucy meets Shaun of the Dead

Every great romance starts with a few hiccups. In the delightfully goofy rom-com Night of the Living Deb, that happens to be brain-devouring revenants.

The Kickstarter-funded, Portland-set comedy was the perfect light-hearted closer to last weekend's second Other Worlds Austin Science Fiction Film Festival, even if it stretched the definition of sci-fi beyond the breaking point. Instead, it's a giddy, hilarious riff on the zombie romantic comedy.

The ace up its rotting sleeve is the sparky, zesty energy between its leads. Deb (Maria Thayer) is a goofy camera operator for a TV station, down on her romantic luck, when she falls/is pushed in the direction of Ryan (Michael Cassidy). The next morning, he's shoving her out the door hard, but her walk of shame is interrupted by the slight inconvenience of the zombie apocalypse.

Tipping its hat clearly to It Happened One Night, Deb's tale of a couple finding unlikely love under the worst possible circumstances is a breathless, giggly affair. Thayer has the goofy grace of a young Lucille Ball, her awkward attempts to both seduce and be aloof around Ryan a delicious mix of pratfalls and witty banter. As for Ryan, his charming exasperation at her obliviousness is the perfectly-toned counterbalance.

Basically, imagine 30 Rock's Liz Lemon hitting on Parks and Recreation's Ben Wyatt. And honestly, it's that level of chemistry. Thayer and Cassidy are a perfect pairing. Then director Kyle Rankin (Infestation, The Battle of Shaker Heights) tips the whole affair into delirious class comedy farce with the introduction of Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Digging up the Marrow) as a brownie-baking millionaire.

After a year in which too many comedies have relied on poop gags and in-jokes (I mind neither, unless they're done lazily – looking at you, Vacation), its a wonderful change to laugh through something smart, sassy, charming, and just straight-ahead heartwarming. The zombies are set-dressing, but the the jokes are all keepers.


For more about Night of the Lving Deb, visit www.nightofthelivingdeb.com.

For more on Other Worlds Austin, visit www.otherworldsaustin.com.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Other Worlds Austin
Other Worlds Austin Warns You: <i>It Came From the Desert</i>!
Q&A: It Came From the Desert
Monster-sized insect movie gets its Texas premiere

Richard Whittaker, May 22, 2018

Top 10 Festival Films of 2017 You Haven't Seen Yet
Top 10 Festival Films of 2017 You Haven't Seen Yet
From zombie musicals to political scandals, a bumper year

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 1, 2018

More Science fiction
C. Robert Cargill Nominated for Clarke Award
Cargill Shortlisted for Book Prize
Dr. Strange co-writer up for SF lit's biggest award

Richard Whittaker, May 2, 2018

Other Worlds Austin: <i>Embers</i>
Other Worlds Austin: Embers
Award-winner examines the terror and liberation of forgetting

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 8, 2015

More by Richard Whittaker
Watch Austin Horror
Watch Austin Horror "Conversion Therapist" Raise its Funds Sunday Night
Short film has last-ditch backer party tonight (with queso)

June 24, 2018

Get Ready to <i>Blaze</i> With This New Trailer
Blaze Trailer Arrives
First trailer arrives for biopic of Austin music legend

June 22, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Other Worlds Austin, Science fiction, Night of the Living Deb

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle