There are a few things to like in Buck Wild, a rednecks and zombies comedy from director Tyler Glodt and Millennium Entertainment. But those things don’t overcome a generally weak project that tries to be the redneck Shaun of the Dead but just can’t distinguish itself to come off as something more than a knockoff. The genuine laughs are few and far between and the gore isn’t gory enough. The main problem is that Buck Wild knows it’s a shlocky zombie exercise and hopes that that self-realization will carry it through the entire pic, but when it doesn’t it tries futilely to supplement itself with caricatures rather than characters. It’s probably better than a lot of the zombie dreck out there but it just can’t reach the comedy heights to which it aspires.
The premise centers on four friends, Craig (Matthew Albrecht), Lance (Isaac Harrison), Tom (Dru Lockwood) and Jerry (Jarrod Pistilli) who are out for a weekend hunting trip. Craig is the wishy-washy leader of the group, Lance his lecherous best friend who’s cheating on him with Craig’s intended fiancee, Carla. Tom is a nerdy whiner in general and Jerry is self-styled zen commando (he thinks he’s Rambo by way of Bruce Lee). They show up in the small town and run afoul of Billy Ray (Mark Ford), self-styled “badass” and fashion icon of all things, and his crew.
They meet Clyde (Joe Stevens), the asshole owner of the Buck Wild Ranch where they’ll be hunting, and his slutty daughter, Candy (Meg Cionni). What they don’t know is that the sick Clyde had recently met up with a chupacabra, got bitten by it, and is well on his way to Zombieville. From there it’s the fairly predictable run toward the entire town being infected and the survivors trying to not getting dead. On a personal level, though, Craig has to try to come to terms with finding out about Lance and Carla. This is all the while that Jerry, who’s revealed to be a survivalist nutcase, is reveling in the lunacy unfolding all around him.
Unfortunately, Buck Wild just has nothing new to offer to the zombie comedy subgenre, other than the fact a chupacabra can now be considered a zombie source. Admittedly, though, Billy Ray is a fairly unique fellow (i.e. snooty yuppie redneck jerkoff). The zombie threat just never comes together as the four protagonists screw around with themselves for more than half the movie. The zombie plague is mostly yadda yadda’ed, and before you know it, they’re just all over the place. Glodt tries to throw in some side adventures, like Tom’s and Jerry’s (Tom and Jerry? Really?) dual excursion over to Billy Ray’s ranch of redneck ruckus and a PG-13 version of the basement scene of Pulp Fiction (complete with music cue). Likewise, Craig tries to come to a reckoning with Zombie Lance, thanks to some fortunately-placed pot brownies.
Make-up overall is pretty good, but there just isn’t enough body shredding and marrow sucking to make up for the deficiencies in the comedy. I really didn’t care if any of the main four survived; in fact I was rooting for Craig to get his spine snacked on most of all, and I’m pretty sure that’s never a good thing. The film just tries too hard to be that slick zom-com that it doesn’t have the characters nor the story to be.
Buck Wild is available now On Demand and is out on Blu-ray and DVD on March 18, 2014.