Stiff Odds (RePost from the old Ryan’s Reviews site)

Stiff Odds Description (from the majicallobsters.com):

Stiff Odds is Majical Lobsters’ first feature length film. This beauty whips out some dark comedy that features the mischief of the afterlife entwined about three zombies, the reaper, a few thugs, and a couple of fun loving kids. Packed to the brim with decay, gore, a twisted plot, and a barrel of laughs soaking in blood. Don’t let this sure-to-be cult film pass you by. Soon to be on sale through Brain Damage Films, the quiet household folks who brought you such classics as the Faces of Death series.

Major Cast: Gabe Strachota as Bert the Reaper, Kate Delaney as Sheba, Cory Pearson as Pongo, Lauryn Wood as Sam, Matt Desreuisseau as Ivan, Jason Yates as Lucy

Special Features: None (Screener Copy)

written by Caleb Allen and Lauryn Wood

directed by Caleb Allen

DVD by Majical Lobsters Productions

Stiff Odds is a no-budget flick that has been taken seriously, maybe too seriously. Dont get me wrong – this is no heavy drama or anything like that. SO is most certainly a campy, gory comedy, in the vein of Troma or Low Budget Pictures – without the sex. What I mean by too seriously is that there are sequences in this flick that are too grandiose for the budget allowed. Some of them work – this is one of the few no-budget flicks Ive seen that has a car crash in it – however some of the digital effects do not play as well.

SO is the story of Sheba and Pongo, two Goth kids that play with a Ouija board in a cemetery for kicks. They are seemingly possessed by Bert, the Reaper, and on his bidding these two dig up three coffins. The bodies in the coffins are re-animated, and wacky zombie action ensues. Sounds a little run-of-the-mill, but truly, SO did not go where I expected it to go. Ive seen so many zombie movies that when the goth kids were excavating the bodies (in one of the digital effects sequences in question – this red and magenta jumble would have been fine if it were not so long, it felt like a mini-music video for Berth the Reapers techno band) I was groaning the packaging for SO did not have any description whatsoever, and I was not ready for another average no-budget zombie flick. Good thing that SO wasnt your average no-budget zombie flick by far!

Sheba and Pong dig up the three zombies in the film, if you can call them that – Ivan, Sam and Lucy. These three were maliciously gunned down in a scuffle with some local thugs, and Bert (who is nothing more than a bookie in the underworld) has brought them back to stack the odds. In the afterlife, betting on peoples deaths is a common event, and Berts the man that takes the money. Ivan, Sam, and Lucy are three of the most intelligent and articulate zombies Ive seen on film. They can speak, and they do so to participate in witty conversation about the joys of being dead. These zombies can run, think, fight, etc. – pretty much their only drawback is the fact that they smell like death.

So the zombies have come back to kill those who killed them, not for revenge, but for a chance to stay on Earth even though they are dead – a deal they have worked out with Bert. Probably my favorite sequence in this film was the animated Sam the Zombie flashback to the trios death – the animation is extremely campy and overall very well, if cheaply, done.

SO is an original zombie script, and thats not something I say very often. The humor was well executed, and the acting was above par for a no-budget film. The sound quality was above average on most shots (with a few glaring discrepancies), and the composition of the camera work was interesting and visually pleasing. The biggest weakness I felt in the film were the various digital effects that were pointed out the lack of budget. Also, the lighting appeared to be (for the most part) only natural, available lighting; the film itself seems to have been shot on a single-chip digital camera, giving the film even more of a no-budget feel.

Overall, Stiff Odds is an above-par no-budget zombie comedy unlike any other I have seen. I would recommend it to fans of Troma and LBP, and campy, bloody film fans in general. Dont rent this if youre looking for boobies though – unlike many low and no-budget flicks this one is completely lacking in the sex department. However, there was no need for sex in this film, and putting it in somewhere would have been hackneyed, a ploy just to sell some DVDs. This was an original, unexpected zombie comedy, and I would recommend all you zombie-flick super-fans out there find a copy of Stiff Odds and add it to your collection – it will stand out as one of the most off-beat zombie flicks you have. Im sure of that.

Overall 7 / 10

Stiff Odds is not on the imdb.

Stiff Odds for sale: http://www.braindamagefilms.com (not on sale yet, but according to the Majical Lobsters site, it should be available soon)

Stiff Odds site: http://majicallobsters.com/index.htm

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