Woke Up Dead

Synopsis: In this grotesquely hilarious new zombie comedy, Drex Greene (Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder), a confused zombie who can’t be any deader, tries to solve the case of the mystery pill that left him drowned in a bathtub. With the help of his wannabe filmmaker roommate Matt (The Daily Show’s Josh Gad) and the sexy med student Cassie (Breaking Bad’s Krysten Ritter), who first discovers Drex as he unzips himself from his own body bag, the three begin to uncover leads about why his death didn’t stick, why a mystery online chat buddy is after him and why he’s starting to show signs of superpowers. Will they figure out why Drex is only sort of dead? Will Cassie discover ancient Zombie secrets? Will Matt get a film career out of it? Or is falling in love actually what Drex needs to do to stay alive? Woke Up Dead co-stars Wayne Knight (Seinfeld) and Jean Smart (24, Frasier).


Woke Up Dead 6.0

I like Jon Heder: talk about misfit making good! I don’t know if it’s just the handful of key roles he’s gotten so far, but I get the feeling he’s going to be limited by his physiognomy in some ways; it’s hard to see him as anything but a dork. And yet he appears talented enough. PLUS he chooses scripts with unusual situations.

So I was immediately attracted to his (he also co-produced it) zombie film, ‘Woke Up Dead’. The fact that I got it at a severely discounted (i.e. less than a rental) price was added incentive. wink)

It’s about a guy who discovers that he’s died but that he’s still “alive”, fully functional and self-aware. For all intents and purposes, he doesn’t feel any different. Except that he’s technically dead, and can’t die again.

To me, this had the potential of some seriously devilish comedy. devilish

Except that it didn’t happen. It turned into a drama more than a comedy – but with less-than-credible situations, less-than-stellar acting, and less-than-impressive production values. So my expectations weren’t met whatsoever.

Still, the “film” had its moments.

I say “film”, because it turns out that this was originally a series of 22 webisodes that were edited together into a feature-length movie. This explains the low budget and the number of flashbacks. But it doesn’t explain the poor direction, in that some of the scenes seem to have big gaping holes in them.

Of course, perhaps this made more sense in webisode format, since the holes were possibly at the juncture between two episodes. In that instance, the time between the episodes would allow the audience to fill in the blanks. Not so here.

Thus I submit that this may have been more enjoyable in its original format. But I may never know – I’m not about to try to find these online. To heck with that: it wasn’t engaging enough.

…not like ‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog’ was, that’s for sure. biggrin

I think the only really memorable part of the film/show is their re-interpretation of the zombie mythos. In this “film”, the zombie doesn’t become gruesome, decompose and/or lose its humanity – it’s not just an animated corpse. Nope. For some reason, in here they become stronger, their senses are sharper, and they heal at superspeed. They essentially become superhuman – except that they’re dead and they only like to feast on brains.

It’s a weird interpretation, and, even though it doesn’t jive with anything else in zombie fiction and it’s completely not credible (that is, if zombies actually existed wink), it did give it a fresh quality of some sort. But, beyond that, there wasn’t much to work with; this is simply not the greatest entertainment, and I’m not surprised a second season/series of these webisodes wasn’t commissioned.

‘Woke Up Dead’ is strictly for die-hard fans of Heder, zombies and/or for the curious. cool

– originally published October 5, 2011

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