Toronto After Dark Review: Night of the Living Deb

According to Toronto After Dark, Saturday night is ZOMBIE Night! They kicked off the evening with USA film: Night of the Living Deb, a different twist on the Zom/Rom/Com genre.

So what happens when you finally approach that cute guy at the bar, discover he’s in the process of breaking up (being broken up with by) his fiancee, and then wake up in what you assume is his bed?

Of course it must be the end of the world – zombie apocalypse style.

Deb is the quirky girl that most people don’t quite understand. She talks in movie quotes, and pulls information together when given the thinnest of hints. She is played by Maria Thayer (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). The love interest Ryan Waverly is played by Michael Cassidy (Tyler, Men at Work). He is the clean living black sheep of his industrialist family. There is also the (ex) fiancee, Stacy, played by Syd Wilder, who has a life plan set out, even if Ryan’s not sure. Ryan’s older and typically teasing  brother is played by Chris Marquette, who is also a producer on the project. Then there is Ryan’s father, Ray Wise as Frank Waverly, who owns the area’s water plant and likes to bake. He also spends part of his time in a blue silk dressing gown.

To round out the cast is Ruby,played by Julie Brister, Deb’s friend who runs a Christmas store and doesn’t let the fact it’s the Fourth of July deter her from wearing Christmas sweaters.

So yes there are some very interesting costume design decisions in this film.



The writing has some fun twists on tropes, such as the fact that it is Ryan’s looks who are most often commented on. Deb is fully versed on movie zombies, which leads to some interesting missteps. There is a great use of Chekhok’s gun principle, properly modified for zombies. And I’ve never seen a zombie hunt inside of a Christmas store before!

There’s government conspiracies, family dynamics, a satellite feed that goes viral, and of course every fourth of July needs fireworks.

This film was made possible by and partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign for $99,000 with perks including becoming a zombie extra. Director Kyle Rankin (Infestation) sets the film in Portland, Maine for a few reasons. One, it was his home town and he wanted to capture that. Secondly, it turned the 19 day shoot into a kind of summer camp, and thirdly – it was much less expensive! When asked how he got Ray Wise to sign onto the project, he revealed that he’s worked with Ray many times. The first time was when Kyle was in his mid twenties and he wrote to his favourite actor on Twin Peaks, and Ray decided to join Kyle’s project, for free. So Ray now feels like film family.

This is a fun film, which has more giggly moments than jump scares. If you’re looking for tension and gore, this may not be your zombie movie. It you prefer your zombies more “Shaun of the Dead” style – definitely check this out.


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