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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Presidents Day (2016)

This movie was recommended to me by Tim Gross of Gross Movie Reviews. I always want to give him a plug when he points out something that I should have already known about and seen. He said that Presidents Day was awesome and funny, but then again, he loves Spookies… I guess I should still take a look.

What happens when a bunch of College Kids head out into the woods to party hard on Presidents Day? Well if a crazy tollbooth operator tosses an evil book into the car and one of them reads it they might just summon the vengeful zombie presidents back to the land of the living! Not only are they back but they are ready to do some killing as they set their sights on murdering all the kids because you know I mean they are zombie presidents recently risen from the grave. Wouldn’t you expect them to kill and stuff? Makes sense to me.

I’m a history nerd so when I saw some of the obscure jokes in Presidents day it made me positively giddy. For example, when a couple of the survivors lock themselves into the bathroom to hide there is a president waiting for them. As soon as I saw him sitting in the bathtub I was all like, “Is that Taft? Could they be going for such an obscure joke?”. The answer was yes and yes. If the rest of the movie was terrible (it isn’t) I would still have loved Presidents Day for that alone. There is another bit with JFK and the Joe DiMaggio bat made me giggle, yeah I giggled damn it! When they doubled down with the Marilyn Monroe punchline I almost fell out of my chair. Don’t get me wrong there is more obvious presidential humor like FDR falling and not getting up, and some Abraham Lincoln and George Washington jokes that I think most people will get. But I appreciated the filmmakers diving deep. Do they even teach about Taft in history anymore?

The movie also gently pokes fun at the horror genre. There is a funny bit with one of the lovely ladies running thru the woods and the branches tearing off her top and pants. After the latter happens she even looks at the camera and says, “come on!”. Of course, there is one cast member of color, nice way of saying black character. When it hits the fan, the other characters try to explain that it isn’t going to go well for him, well because you know horror movies and minority characters. They also assume he has a gun! This bit pays off really well.

Our non-zombie non-president cast
If you are looking for a huge body count and great gore this isn’t the movie for you. there are some deaths and blood spraying around. We get to see a body severed in half and a head lopped off, but Presidents Day is being played for laughs and not gore. It isn’t that kind of horror movie but is enjoyable in a different way.

Tim was right this movie is awesome. I’ve seen a lot of independent movies as well as big budget studio projects that try to do this and fail miserably. But here the jokes are plentiful and actually funny. The cast of unknowns show some comedic chops delivering their lines with the timing that it takes for them to work. I’m not an actor but I’ve heard those who are say that Drama is hard, but Comedy is harder. That might be why so many horror comedies fail horribly.

I’ve only mentioned a few of the very funny things in Presidents Day. This is the kind of independent movie that we horror fans need to support. There is some real talent here and I can’t wait to see what this director and writers come up with next. It is highly recommended.

© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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