Some horror movie premises are just ripe for comedy gold. Cockneys vs. Zombies, strippers vs. zombies, Brits vs. Zombies, et al, but “Ahockalypse” which pits hockey players against a zombie apocalypse is a swing and a miss. It’s not a complete miss overall, but in the end there was just so much that could have been done with the premise. The hockey themed horror comedy’s lack of budget is one of the elements that hinder an otherwise clever idea, as well as a clear lack of tonal consistency through and through.
After winning the championship cup Jonesy and his team of underdog hockey players are intent on celebrating their victory. But their celebration is cut short as a zombie apocalypse has begun to consume civilization, turning every man, woman, and canuck in the city in to flesh eating monsters. Now banding together, they have to find help, or at least survive long enough for help to arrive and rescue them from imminent doom. “Ahockalypse” seems like a great idea on paper, but the movie is in dire need of some nipping and tucking here and there. What little gags that inspire laughs that there are feel almost accidental at times, and director Wayne Johnson never goes whole hog with a lot of his plot devices.
Take the sub-plot with the karate fighting mascot and his pair of Asian allies. Along with a much better script, the film needs some better editing. The cheese factor works in its favor only to a certain extent and then the movie begins to feel lazy and cheap. One scene in particular finds a character known as the Swede attacked by two child zombies. As he cries out with digital blood squirting around, it’s clear the kids are poorly miming biting in to him, especially when director Johnson provides close ups on the attack. It sounds like a nit pick, but there were so many instances like this that after a while I couldn’t ignore the inherent flawed production.
The movie doesn’t even seem to have a set of rules for the zombies, setting narrative rules for the monsters based on whatever fits the narrative. Beyond the weak zombie carnage, there’s the storyline that meanders, with characters literally running back and forth looking for new safe havens, and not really doing much evolving. It all feels like a string of skits for a web series that were cut together with a climax in a hockey rink that should have been so much more epic than what we’re given. “Ahockalypse” is too goofy to be thought of as a horror movie, and too gore soaked to be taken as just a comedy. Wayne Johnson Jr.’s film is not awful, it just doesn’t know what to do with its own gimmick most of the time, and I was not so much entertained as I was indifferent and bored with pretty much all of it.
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