Die and Let Live
By: Devon B. on March 7, 2007  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Director: Justin Channell
Starring: Joshua Lively, Zane Crosby, Sarah Bauer, Ashley Goddard, Hordan Hess, Jonas Dixon
Screenplay: Justin Channell, Zane Crosby, Joshua Lively
Country: USA
Year: 2006
Duration: 74 minutes
If you didn't get enough romantic zombie comedy from Shaun of the Dead, here comes a low budget, American re-imagining in Die and Let Live.

A pharmaceutical company, headed by Trent Haaga, has a little boo boo, and before you can say "Excuse me, have you seen my monkey?" there's an outbreak. The outbreak causes the infected to turn into new wave (i.e. fast and limber) zombies. The zombies go about wreaking havoc in the city, but even worse, they crash a party our hero was throwing in order to try and hook up with a girl! How's that for personalising massive tragedy?

Die and Let Live certainly owes a lot to Shaun of the Dead, being a zombie comedy with romantic undertones, and a few gags are lifted straight from it. But for the most part, it does its best to be unique. The cast are quite a bit younger than those found in Shaun, which helps the two films from becoming too similar. Cut away gags, Simpsons style, increase the mirth of the proceedings, and send ups of Forrest Gump and Lord of the Rings are also amusing. There are some laugh out loud lines, but also a few jokes that stagger towards the punch line like 60 year old Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. However, some bits are absolutely hysterical, particularly those focusing on a special symbol of friendship.

I actually wanted to see Die and Let Live because of Haaga's involvement, having enjoyed his work with Troma on Terror Firmer and Citizen Toxie, and liking his own low budget zombie flick Feeding the Masses. Unfortunately, Haaga only has a few small scenes, and doesn't have much to do, but I wasn't annoyed because Die and Let Live isn't bad at all. Also be on the look out for cameos from Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger, and Debbie Rochon's voice. I guess that latter should really be "be on the listen out," but that sounds dumb.

Despite the low budget, the film has decent production values, except some of the zombies that rival those found in Redneck Zombies. The gore is splashy, but very simple, so don't go in hoping for splatstick. The acting is generally passable, with the two leads being consistently good. The soundtrack would be fun if you're into newer punk stylings, but for me it was just a nice break from low budget films that only manage to clear music from one band.

Sadly, the audio levels were a bit rough on this screener, and I found myself missing quite a few lines. Anyway, you could do worse than Die and Let Live. A LOT worse.
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