Toronto After Dark Report: Night Of The Living Deb

Who’s in it: Maria Thayer, Michael Cassidy, Ray Wise, Chris Marquette, Syd Wilder

Who’s behind it: Directed by Kyle Rankin, written by Andy Selsor

Who’ll love it: Fans of zombie comedy and lively eccentrics.

What it’s about: Slowly working her way up in a local TV news outfit, 30-year-old Deb Clarington (Maria Thayer) is feeling extremely dissatisfied about her love life. After a night of heavy drinking, she wakes up in the apartment of an attractive stranger named Ryan (Michael Cassidy), but neither has much memory of the night before. Further complicating matters, Ryan has little tolerance for Deb’s many eccentricities. However, the fallout of this one-night stand soon takes a backseat to a far more pressing concern: zombies. With much of the world around them now zombified, this odd couple seeks shelter in Ryan’s family home, getting uncomfortably close to his ex-girlfriend (Syd Wilder), his father (Ray Wise), and his jealous survivalist brother (Chris Marquette).

Why you should see it: Project Greenlight fans will remember director Kyle Rankin as the co-director of that show’s season two Shia LaBeouf vehicle The Battle of Shaker Heights. Still plugging away 12 years later, he tries his hand at a familiar horror subgenre (zombie comedy) with the help of the unique comic presence that is Maria Thayer. Alternately winning and maddening (by design), Thayer’s Deb holds our attention throughout, even when Rankin spins his wheels on tired zom-com gags in the tradition of Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. Night of the Living Deb won’t win anyone over with its narrative drive or refined good taste—much of the film is carelessly broad, even cartoonish—but Thayer is a comic find that’s too good to ignore.

 When you can see it: Saturday, October 17 at 7pm at Scotiabank Theatre. Tickets available here.

Check out the trailer and the poster below.