President’s Day is a low-budget parody of slasher movies and horror. The comedy comes thick and fast with what is a thoroughly enjoyable laugh-out-loud comedy that doesn’t take itself seriously.
What’s It All About?
A group of teens decide to to take a trip to a cabin in the woods where they encounter a group of zombie presidents who begin to hunt down and kill them. Their only hope of survival is to summon the demonic spirit of John Wilkes Booth.
From the opening scene when we see someone accidentally shoot their ear off I knew I was in for a fun ride. The laughs flow thick and fast throughout the film to make sure you have a smile on your face for the majority of the movie.
Speaking of the opening of the film, I really enjoyed the opening titles. The animation and the music were all expertly done making it look very impressive. This definitely gave the feel of a big-budget affair. Seeing the presidents dismember each credit as it appeared on-screen was quite satisfying.
Taking all of its inspiration from typical horror tropes you will know exactly what to expect making it easy to relate to and identifiable. We are given your typical group of teenagers; the jock, the nerd, the black guy, the hot girl, the goth, the cool guy, the defiant ex, they are all here. We also have a typical location and it doesn’t get more generic than the remote cabin in the woods. While also being the positives of the movie, the parody is also its negative. Everything we are given we have seen before making this story quite predictable. We do get one or two new twists on the genre such as the human-zombie relationship, but overall much of what we see is what we have seen many times before.
What really makes this film stand out is the low-budget effects that actually work in the favour of the movie. These effects are comical in themselves, something I think is intentionally done and works very well. A great example is the fake body used when a member of the group loses the bottom half of their body. Visually it is comical and really adds another layer of comedy.
Director David Zuckerman did a solid job. While I feel at times he was playing it safe I do think that he has given us a solid film. He had a definite vision that he wanted to put down and he has done that. Rather than taking risks he has kept things simple and straight forward telling a simple story and focusing firmly on the comedy. David has managed to use things such as the low-budget to his advantage. He has been very clever to make the most of what is available to him. I think there is a solid future in filmmaking for David if he can continue with this quality.
As well as directing, David Zuckerman also wrote the screenplay along with Benjamin Goodwin and Jud Zumwalt. The team have clearly all been on the same page and have managed to write a great story. Not only that but there is some brilliant one-liners and excellent comedy on display. This team know how to make people laugh. They also have a thorough knowledge of horror history with a seemingly endless nod to movies of the past, some more noticeable than others.
I really enjoyed the idea of the president-zombies and I thought the make-up was very well done. Congratulations need to be given to Tara Edwards, Cassidy Crawford, Crystal Gomez and Jillian Lueras who have all done a fantastic job with the make up. Even though they were not the slightest bit scary they did take more than there share of the laughs.
There were one or two issues that I had with the film. Some of the voices had not being lip-synched exactly with the actors, making things a little awkward at times and also brought me out of the story momentarily.
The acting is completely exaggerated and over-the-top which makes it so much fun. By far the most entertaining of these were Brett, played by Jud Zumwalt. He was a fantastic character but was killed off far too soon. I can’t help but feel that the film lost something when it lost this character.
Being a low-budget indie the money is always tight and I just wanted to say that this team has done an excellent job. The credits show that lots of the crew were wearing many different hats to make this production a success. Zuckerman for example was writer, director, actor, producer, editor and one of the men behind the visual effects. A commendable effort from a very dedicated team.
Jud Zumwalt played Brett. Jud gave a fantastic performance as the ‘jock’ character. He completely dominated every scene he was in. Brett had some of the best one-liners and it is easy to see why he was a main focus in the film. Unfortunately I would have liked to have seen last longer as once the character died I feel that the movie did drop down a gear in terms of entertainment. However I cannot fault Jud who gave a scene-stealing performance.
David Zuckerman played Jake. David brings a lot of comedy to his seemingly cool character. The more we get to explore of this character the more we begin to like him. David does an excellent job as Jake really bringing the best out of him in a very entertaining performance.
Monica Ricketts played Lilly. Monica played the role of the strong female lead. She had more of a serious role in the film than the others and carried it to the end. I enjoyed her performance and I feel like she came into her own in the second half of the movie, finishing very strongly.
Benjamin Goodwin played Ruttigger. Benjamin was highly entertaining with the time he was given but I feel the character suffered by being a little too one-dimensional. He was involved in some very funny scenes. Benjamin gave us a solid performance.
Erik Myers played the Tollbooth Operator. Although this was only a very minor role, it was very memorable. I enjoyed this character and his dialogue for his limited screentime.
This is an enjoyable and laugh-out-loud, low-budget parody of the horror genre. While this doesn’t offer anything new to this sub-genre it manages to get the basics right. What we have is a fun and entertaining take on the parody film that uses its lack of budget to its advantage and pokes fun at the source material it is based on. The comedy never fades making this a refreshing look at a parody. Fans of horror-comedy will have a great time with this.