Film

It’s the Zombie-Beaver Puppets That Steal the Show in Zombeavers

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The beavers have cut the phone lines.

There’s a lot to like about Zombeavers before that suspense trope turns up, but the way it’s presented as a deliberate act drives home the fact that this is a sublimely silly monster movie.

It’s got a standard setup — horny kids at an isolated cabin, toxic waste mutating whatever it touches (spoiler: it’s beavers) — but it proceeds with a surprising amount of style, from the Saul Bass–inspired title sequence all the way to the Sinatra pastiche over its closing credits.

But it’s the zombie-beaver puppets — mangy, goopy, and unapologetically fake — that steal the show. These undead water rodents terrorize the spring breakers, circling their raft and surrounding their cabin at night, eyes aglow, tails thumping in unison. As they whittle down the vacationers one by one, their bites open the door for more trouble…and more giddy-grossout makeup effects.

Director Jordan Rubin and the cast know the material is ridiculous, but calibrate the tone so that the dangers still feels dangerous. Rex Linn adds flavor as a gruff local fur trapper, and the film opens with a goofy cameo by Bill Burr and John Mayer, but it’s the beavers, in all shapes and sizes, that chew most of the scenery.