94 minutes, in Thai with English subtitles
Directed by: Joey Boy
Starring: Joey Boy, DJ Spidamonkee, Buddha Bless, Nang Oum
One of the beautiful things about the Thai film industry right now is that it’s functioning a lot like Roger Corman’s classic exploitation studio, AIP: if you’ve got the right actors, a marketing hook, and a high concept, you’ve got a greenlight. While this means that a lot of cruddy movies get made, it also means that the occasional trash classic slips under the wire and hits screens like a big blast of reefer smoke. Such is the case with DEAD BITE. Joey Boy is a hiphop star who’s buddies with Will.i.am of the Black-eyed Peas and you can just see him in the pitch meeting for DEAD BITE, “See, I’m going to get my hiphop crew, the Gancore Club, to play themselves in a zombie movie featuring lots of girls in bikinis. And then they all get killed.” Cue gangsters signing checks and cameras starting to roll.
With no aspirations higher than passing 90 minutes with plenty of babes, blood, and blunts, DEAD BITE actually winds up being better than it needs to be thanks to the unrehearsed charisma of the hiphop goofballs in Gancore Club. From the opening scene, in which they’re hired to play a concert for ghosts (an actual Thai tradition), to their telepathic conversations, and the way they all try to top each other with their baroque death scenes, these guys are in it to win it. After their supernatural concert goes wrong, their sleazy manager promises them a cakewalk gig: a quick video shot on a boat jammed with sexy swimsuit-clad ladies. Unfortunately, the boat gets stranded on Mermaid Island, inhabited by insane locals who are led by a forest goddess who loves to butcher tourists just because. Then things get worse, because every time it rains, an army of zombies rise from the surf to treat themselves to a buffet of the flesh of the living.
Contemporary B-movie madness at its most casual, off-the-cuff, and energetic, the slick production values, and enthusiastic gore effects make this movie feel like far more than the sum of its parts. This is a horror movie made by people who love horror movies, full of dope beats, and beaten-to-a-pulp dopes, and it ends with a sick wrap-around gag that feels like the topper of one whopper of a shaggy dog, zombie-filled, fish story.