Toronto After Dark 2017: Dead Shack – Peter Ricq

Toronto After Dark’s Zombie Night gets underway this evening at 6:30 at the Scotiabank Theatre with a special presentation of the Canadian zombie film, Dead Shack, directed by Peter Ricq.

A fun, if short and simple film, the story follows three youngsters, Jason (Matthew Nelson-Mahood) and his friends Colin (Gabriel LaBelle), Summer (Lizzie Boys) and their intent on being the cool dad, father, Roger (Donavon Stinson) as they go on a cottage getaway.

Out in the middle of nowhere the kids stumble upon a blatantly ignored No Trespassing sign, and witness the Neighbour (Lauren Holly), drugging, and seemingly killing a couple of douche-bros.

Horrified by their discovery, they rush back to tell Roger, who more than half in the bag already, drunkenly follows them back to the creepy house.

Things go from bad to worse as Roger drinks a drugged wine, forcing Jason and Summer to leave him there, while they take on the denizens of the household, the Neighbours long undead family.


Filled with juvenile humour, and not enough kills, Dead Shack hints at the possibility of cult classic. The jokes are very much a reflection of the real world, there is no pretension of great delivery or wit here, this is a banter all of us recognise, because we all have that one friend.

Not all of it works, however, and some lines seem completely wrong, or ill-timed. An extra moment here and there to establish an action beat or let a line sink in may have done a service to the film. Instead it seems to rush through things, and just hopes the audience gets caught up in the action, and won’t dwell too much on the things that don’t work.

This one always feels like its on the cusp of doing something awesome, and never quite makes it, but is still filled with lots of goofy laughs that kept me engaged throughout.

The idea is a lot of fun, but keeping the cast so small limits the kills and for most genre fans, it’s the kills and the body count in a zombie movie that keeps them involved. Though the laughs help.

In fact, the film is an inherently Canadian zombie film, it’s polite, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is always standing on the edge of greatness.

As always, the folks at Toronto After Dark make interesting choices, and this one is definitely bound to entertain the audience.

The Zombie Night double feature begins at 6:30, get in, get your tickets, and get a bite…

I’ll see you After Dark!



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