Ahockalypse conjures a unique breed of the zombie-comedy genre into interesting territory, blending horror, comedy and sports. Merging the bloody-fisted punches of Goon (2011) with the parody of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Ahockalypse disregards the allusions and instead offers a more explicit approach to delivering its raunchy humor. Hence the play on words of the film’s title, “aHOCKalypse” is (no surprise) centered around hockey, with cameos from NHL hockey legends Barry Melrose and Kelly Chase. Co-written and directed by Wayne Harry Johnson Jr., Ahockalypse is loosely based on Johnson’s 2001 film, Ultro-Pep: The Movie, which finds the protagonist on a rescue mission to save his girlfriend in the midst of a zombie horde thanks to an infectious energy drink known as Ultro-Pep.
The film opens with the camera flying through the city’s skyscrapers on a late evening, revealing busy streets littered with vehicles and well…life. I found the musical score during the film’s intro, composed by Pete Coleman, to be an interesting choice as the use of the Theremin is usually exclusively used in classic science fiction films and television. But hey, it works and Coleman’s overall musical contribution is actually pretty solid. Ahockalypse makes no mistake in immediately revealing its intent on exploiting the humorous elements rather than a more serious and dark zombie movie.
Right from the start, we see Kelly Chase bashing his way through a few zombies before casually leaving his office building, as if it’s any other normal day. Before beating a zombie sports commentator senseless, he utters, “Looks like it’s my lucky day”. Kelly Chase is on record for holding nearly 200 fights throughout his professional hockey career.
The film’s broad spectrum of zombie characters seemed to drive humor of the movie, which in some instances worked. I was particularly fond of the zombie hockey players, the zombie children and a zombie on crutches. Pop culture horror references added a few laughs as well. For example, zombie children are attacking the main group of characters, who start screaming in fear, “I told you! Redrum mother fucker! Redrum!” Yet ironically, the most interesting characters of the film were not the zombies, or the main cast, but the hockey team’s mascot, Bruce, played by actor/martial artist Cole Eckert. Throughout various portions of the film we find Bruce (in full costume), alongside two females (credited as “Badass Girls“), battling their way through the zombie horde by use of roundhouse kicks, sweeps and plenty of neck breaking. Their time on-screen was perhaps the most memorable and laugh-out-loud hilarious of the entire film.
In between zombie attacks and running from danger, the film’s dialogue tends to lack substance and unfortunately, seems to bloat the bulk of the movie. Although the pace is appropriate for the most part, and the film is pretty entertaining, some of the dialogue attempted to summon a joke that never came to fruition. This seemed to expose the novice actors at times, but there are enough laughable distractions that allow our focus to dive back into the humor of the film.
At times, the film’s lack of urgency during long scenes of dialogue seemed slightly out of place. For example, sharing a drink in celebration of a hockey win in the midst of family and friends being eaten seemed a bit far fetched. But perhaps that is part of the humor that demonstrates a love for the sport even in the thick of imminent danger.
Ahockalypse is marketed as a zombie-hockey film, and for the most part, that’s exactly what it delivers. Although the majority of the film takes place outside of the hockey rink, there are enough references that keep Ahockalypse in the game (the movie is filmed in Austin, Minnesota which houses the Riverside Arena, home of the Austin Bruins hockey team). If you’re looking for some laughs alongside stellar cameos from hockey legends, Ahockalypse might be something you’ll want to check out. The film is self-described as having “very un-PC, low budget raunchiness!” and that’s exactly what you’re gonna get.
Ahockalypse will be available to stream on VOD August 17th, 2018. Check out the trailer below and tell me it doesn’t look like a good time. Ahockalypse is comprises of cast members ranging from seasoned to first time actors. Aside from a few notable cameos, the cast includes Jesse Rennicke, Gabrielle Arrowsmith, Kaylee Williams, Squall Charlson, Alex Galick and Lindsey Kuehl. Let us know in the comments below, over on Twitter, or in our Horror Group on Facebook. Stay ghoulish, friends!