What caused the outbreak: fake snow machine
Obligatory disembowelment scene? Yes
Zombie rules: Zombies react to music. Destroying the brain doesn’t kill them. Removing the head does.
Fast or Slow Zombies?: Slow
Running Time: 78 minutes
A plan to combat the effects of global warming by creating fake snow leads to a zombie outbreak. It doesn’t help that the creator of the fake snow machine has used a suspicious neon green substance to do it. This is not going to end well.
Meanwhile, a crew of extreme sports enthusiasts are on the piste. But they’re not merely travelling downhill at speed. No, they are making a fancy snowboarding video. Of course, the real plot is the burgeoning romance between Branka and Steve. Because a zombie outbreak is always the way to a woman’s heart.
Despite its low budget Lederhosen Zombies looks the part. Every scene has a high contrast, colourful palette. It’s a throwback to 80s horror films in almost every respect. From the slight tone of whimsy to the gloriously synth-heavy soundtrack. I’m uncertain, but many of the tracks seem like direct lifts from something like The Thing or the 1985 Day of the Dead.
That high contrast approach gives everything that extra hint of the 1980s. There’s no such thing as a dull colour palette here when you can use the giallo method. Reds, yellows, greens and purple gels abound in the lighting.
Bordering on the ridiculous, the ballroom dance sequence was for me the film’s low point. Nobody in their right mind would consider dancing while surrounded by zombies. Never mind that the undead are distracted by the music, it’s still a problematic scene. If Branka and Steve were drunk at the time then you could let this one slip. But they’re not drunk, and they show flawed decision making. So… typical zombie movie territory then.
With that said, it is very well presented. Much like the script too, which is amusing but never quite hits the same marks as, say Shaun of the Dead. As for gore, this is very much in Braindead territory. They throw impressive gore effects into the mix with reckless abandon.
Lederhosen Zombies tries to be too many things at once. Is it a dark, serious zombie horror? An outright comedy, knowingly steeped in zombie lore? Or is it a balanced combination of these things? Well, no. It’s never all that sure of itself and some jokes do fall flat. Plus, the romance angle doesn’t do either of the characters any favours. Meanwhile its self-referential approach to the zombie genre is nothing new. This is quietly dropped after a couple of brief references, which is a shame.
The mixture of tones and influences doesn’t do the finished product many favours. It would have been better to either focus on one tone throughout, or emulate Shaun of the Dead. How? By blending the comedy elements with horror. Shaun worked because the characters were believable and either lovable or loathsome. Lederhosen Zombies never reaches that pinnacle. But the good news is that the gore and cinematography more than justify a viewing.