Dead Meat (2004)
By: Devon B. on June 21, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
IDT (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. 78 minutes
The Movie
Director: Conor McMahon
Starring: Marian Araujo, David Muyllaert, Eoin Whelan, Dave Ryan, Amy Redmond, Kathryn Toolan
Screenplay: Conor McMahon
Country: Ireland
When I first heard about Dead Meat, I was being told it was an Irish zombie movie with killer cows. Completely ignoring any other relevant data, I decided it was going to be a crazy movie like a live action version of Man-Eating Cow (from The Tick), funny as Father Ted, and with more bleedin' hearts than the latest U2 concert. Sadly, there are killer cows, but for precious little screen time.

Dead Meat opens with a cow attack. Hopes were instantly high. Then the film segues to this Spanish woman heading into the countryside with her partner. Too bad for them, they've decided to go to a place where a mutation of mad cow disease has created a zombie plague. The boyfriend gets distracted while driving and runs over a man. The man dies, so the couple decide to transport him in their car, which wasn't a good idea because he's infected, and doesn't stay dead long. He attacks, and the boyfriend is bitten. The Spanish woman is left fending for herself in a zombie overrun world. Fortunately for her she hooks up with the local gravedigger, and they continue their struggle for survival together. Eventually, after MUCH patience on my part, there was another cow attack.

Dead Meat is fast paced and well directed, but wasn't as funny as I was hoping for. Not that Dead Meat's attempts at humour fail, there just aren't as many as I was expecting. Some of the effects, particularly fake heads and some of the zombie makeup, leave a bit to be desired, but there is some good gore. There is also some underlying social commentary in certain scenes, but the film can be enjoyed as just a fun zombie romp as well. Too bad there isn't much to be said for it as a killer cow movie.

The zombies are somewhere between the new and old breed. They don't run everywhere, but do move fast and are prone to using tools. There are many scenes that may remind you of other zombie movies, everything from Undead to Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, as well as influences from Evil Dead, The Crazies, and Resident Evil (the video game). Despite seeing familiar elements, things are often presented with a fresh spin here, such as POV shots from various objects and what has to be the world's greatest disabled zombie ever. One scene in particular features a role reversal that should amuse fans of Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2.

I think Dead Meat is entertaining, but really, there's not enough cow action. Dead Meat has been out gored, and out joked by other zombie movies, but it has not been out cowed, so there should've been more of them. Not only that, but after the danger of an infected cow is built up, the danger is resolved very anti-climactically. Just think of how fucking BRILLIANT this movie would've been if it had lost the human zombie element and only had mad cows roaming the countryside and attacking all they saw! There could be a scene of a farmer saying something like, 'Bessie, it's me! Farmer Bob. Don't you remember me?' before being consumed by his turned cow! Or a scene where a Hindi goes up to a Brahman Cow to praise it, and gets eaten!! And just imagine a scene set in a slaughterhouse where the cows have come back!!!
Dead Meat is presented at 1.78:1 in a 16x9 enhanced print. The film looks very similar to 28 Days Later, so was perhaps shot on similar equipment. The film has a few specks, and some bits of grain, but is mostly a sharp, clear, clean print.
The audio is a 5.1 track. The mix is pretty vivacious, with appropriate jolts, but unfortunately the dialogue is a bit quiet. The score can also be overpowering, but I think this is due to film's original elements, not the transfer.
Extra Features
Some trailers.
The Verdict
I want a sequel. The Land of the Cow Dead, or Bovine Butchers, or Re-Curdinator, or Mooing Milk Massacre or something. With numerous, tougher, mad cows. The whole time. Forget the zombies. Just the cows.
Movie Score
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