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The Mad

The Mad (2007)

May. 22,2007
| Horror Comedy Thriller

A horror-thriller in which a doctor and his teenage daughter are terrorized by flesh-eating zombies at a truck stop.


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A Mad Cow disease causes those who eat meat infected by it to turn into flesh eating zombies, ruining the vacation of a dysfunctional family. Zom com places major emphasis on laughs which are few and far between. Billy Zane plays his doctor straight-faced all the way through, never changing expression, with this dead-pan delivery an attempt at forced comedy. Shaun of the Dead, as good a movie as it was, has encouraged an innumerable amount of imitators which fail to capture the same kind of balance of (funny)humor and horror as it did. For instance, there's this entire comedy bit where father Zane and daughter Maggie Castle bicker over the name of the farm which provided the bad meat which started the zombie mad cow plague..it falls as flat as possible and desperate. There's plenty of "goremedy" using violence as a means to seek giggles, failing miserably. I think it takes entirely too long to get going and by the time the zombies are unleashed, I reckon many fans of the genre would have laboured in vain. There's heavy focus on the family dynamic and how the disconnect between father and daughter regains momentum as they encounter danger. Eventually they decide to take the SUV of a couple torn apart by zombies, confronting the father-son farmers whose "medicine" for their cattle caused the zombie disease infecting the meat. If anything, Castle in Daisy Duke attire and pig-tails should leave an impression even though the humor fails to do so. Shauna MacDonald is the woman that almost comes between Zane and Castle, Evan Charles Flock, the daughter's beau who doesn't fare well when all is said done. You could call this a treatise on the dangers of eating meat, celebrating vegetarianism, but I wouldn't dare submit such a theory for a movie this painfully unfunny. When you see Zane and Castle disputing with farmer Sutter over whether "strange" or "strangely" applies to the behavior of mad cows, then you know a film's struggling mightily to belly-laugh their audience into a stooper.


"The Mad" is without a doubt meant to be bad. There can be little doubt that both the cast, the director, and most likely the screen writer foreordained this to be a laughably bad film. There are time in which Billy Zane's performance not only breaks the forth wall it shatters it into a thousand pieces, leaving the viewer in a vortex of both confusion and pure hilarity. If it's not zombies, who's only zombie like aspect is alka-seltzer driven mouth foam, it's seemingly omniscience beef patties that attack the characters in-mass. The full affect of this leaves one with more per-zombie-giggles than "FIDO". If you happen to have a group of pro-zombie minded friends and what a movie to put everyone in stitches try "The Mad".


~Spoiler~ The Mad is a movie that came late to the party. Shaun of the Dead showed us how to make a zombie comedy and became an instant classic. Dead and Breakfast was a perfect midnight movie that became an instant cult classic. The Mad will be instantly forgotten. And that sucks because I really love Billy Zane. He just picks the wrong projects. I had been excited for this movie since it was first announced. That announcement made no mention of comedy. It was supposed to be Billy Zane and his daughter fending off zombies at a gas station. Imagine my surprise when 2 months later (literally) the movie came out direct to DVD and it was touted as a "zombedy." Flags went up after seeing how soon this came out, but I decided to give it a chance anyway because I love zombies and I love Zane. Let me say after viewing it they could have called it The Bad. It was just blah; not funny, not gory, certainly not memorable. This is a classic example of trying too hard. If a joke doesn't work, no amount of zaniness (pardon my pun) is going to fix it. Believe me when I say The Silence of the Hams was funnier.


Having screened The Mad at the Gala Opening at the 2007 Canadian Filmmakers Festival, I can say that it would be a shame for this movie to be relegated to the 'Direct to Video Pile'. It's likely to become a cult movie in a similar vein to "Shaun of the Dead", "Evil Dead", "Return of the Living Dead", etc.A tad slow in places, the intelligent humour and earnestness of the characters more than makes up for any shortcomings. This movie makes no pretense to being anything other than fun.Nice to see Billy Zane in something other than a dramatic role, with luck we'll see more comedic acting from Zane in the future as he seemed to have a great deal of fun with this role.Go 'Team Chris'