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Film / Dance of the Dead

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Dance of the Dead is an American zombie horror-comedy film released in 2008. It premiered exclusively at Mann's Chinese 6 Theaters in Los Angeles on October 13, before being released on DVD the next day. The film was directed by Gregg Bishop and written by Joe Ballarini. The film stars Jared Kusnitz, Greyson Chadwick, Chandler Darby, Carissa Capobianco and Mark Oliver.

In true style of the teen horror genre, a group of high school students try and defend their prom from hordes of the undead, who have been resurrected presumably via the chemicals emitted from the power plant, located conveniently next to the cemetery.


Dance of the Dead contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adorkable: Jimmy, and to some extent, Steven.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Steven likes Gwen and tries asking her to go to prom with him. Gwen wants to go with Jensen instead, as her first choice bailed on her due to sickness. Jensen, however, shoots her down. Steven still likes Gwen, but she only starts to like him back after she is bitten by the zombie headmaster.
  • An Axe to Grind: Lindsey's weapon of choice when heading to the school.
  • And the Adventure Continues
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Toward the end of the movie, Gwen turns into a zombie following an unseen bite on the arm.
    • Also Kyle in the funeral home after struggling with one of the bagged corpses.
  • Anti-Hero: Jimmy only wanted to go to prom with Lindsay.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The zombies have an unusual weakness to music, which is taken advantage of twice by Nash, Jensen and Dave.
  • Ax-Crazy: Kyle has a very short temper.
  • Advertisement:
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Jimmy and Lindsey, after being surrounded in the school gym.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Jimmy in his prom suit.
  • Batter Up!: Jimmy's weapon of choice, which gets an upgrade when he drives a few nails into the bat.
  • Behind the Black: Jimmy, Lindsey, Steven, Jules, George, Gwen and Kyle discover a body lying on an examination table in the basement/morgue of the funeral home. As Kyle prepares to load his gun, the camera moves to focus on Kyle's actions, but when it returns to show the table, the body is nowhere to be seen.
    • Also, when the zombies enter the grocery store, the clerk looks down one aisle, where the perspective then switches to his point of view, showing a group of zombies devouring a customer. Cue a random zombie jumping up in front of him, which would have otherwise been impossible for the clerk to not notice.
  • The Bully: Kyle fills this role very well.
  • The Caretaker: The one from the cemetery who shows up periodically throughout the film.
  • The Cheerleader: Gwen
  • Cool Loser: Jules, Steven and George.
  • Devoured by the Horde: When trying to escape the school, Jensen, one of the band members, gets caught by a horde of zombies and gets devoured by them just before almost making it to the next classroom.
  • Dumb Blonde: Gwen. Even before she opens her mouth: she decides to go for a jog instead of going to prom, and isn't seen again until Jimmy and Kyle are fighting zombies in the street...where she is still jogging as if nothing has happened.
    Gwen: (To Coach Keel) "I don't know how to shoot a machete."
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies
  • Eye Scream: After tripping over and ripping her prom dress while fleeing from a zombie, Lindsey removes her shoe and stabs it in the eye with the heel
  • Foreshadowing: At the start of the film, Nash says that he senses something bad in the air, relating to the power plant spewing chemicals into the atmosphere.
  • Gorn: Occurs a few times in the film, most notably when Jimmy and Kyle are fighting against the zombies in the street.
    • Also when Nash is torn apart by the zombies at the school.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Prom
  • Idiot Ball: After discovering that Gwen was bitten, Steven knows. that he shouldn't be standing in the same cubicle as her, that he should probably put her out of her misery before she turns, and that he definitely should not let her hug him...but he still decides to make out with her ...and it costs him his life.
  • Insufferable Genius: Jules.
  • It Can Think: Two zombies carjack Jimmy's pizza van while he is arguing with Kyle. Also, one of the zombies at the prom still manages to spike the punch.
  • Jerkass: A few of the characters fit this role: Jules, Kyle, Coach Keel and the science teacher are the main ones.
  • The Jester: Jimmy has this attitude at the start of the film.
  • Jump Scare: The film definitely tries pulling a few of these early on.
  • Kiss of Death: Gwen turns into a zombie whilst making out with Steven in the toilet cubicle, killing him and also turning him into a zombie too.
  • Losing Your Head: What happens to Mitch after a zombie pulls him from his car while trying to rape Lindsey.
  • Lovable Nerd: Steven.
  • Made of Plasticine: The zombies are remarkably easy to tear apart. Of course, that could just be due to Coach Keel being a One-Man Army.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted, as one of the characters refers to the undead as zombies at least once in the film.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: It's unknown how exactly the power plant caused the undead to literally jump out of their graves, but they sure can run once they've set their sights on their prey.
    • Also if you take into account that one of the frogs in the school's science lab somehow gets infected and turns into a zombie frog. It somehow manages to attack and infect the science teacher, and is never seen again.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Who else can bring an end to a zombie outbreak than the class clown, three nerds, a cheerleader, a bully with a criminal record, the head of the student council, the gym class coach, and the drummer, bassist and vocalist of a student rock band?
  • Redemption Equals Death: Kyle, following the outbreak, starts acting less of a jerk toward Jimmy, Jules, Steven and George, going as far as saving them when they are trapped in the funeral home.
  • Redhead In Green: Lindsay at the start of the film wears a bright green blouse.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: The cemetery caretaker tells Jules, George and Steven that the latter is the only way to destroy the zombies.
  • Rise from Your Grave: When Jules, Steven and George are chased through the cemetery, the zombies can be seen literally jumping out from their graves and immediately breaking out into a run.
  • Rock Trio: Jensen, Dave and Nash are in a rock band together.
  • Room Full of Zombies: The school gym, where all but a handful of students have been turned into the undead, after the group arrive too little too late.
  • Shovel Strike: The cemetery caretaker dispenses these without so much as blinking an eyelid.
    • Later in the film, Steven uses a shovel from Coach Keel's garage as his weapon of choice.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: How Coach Keel decides to eliminate the zombies occupying the school.
  • Title of the Dead
  • Token Religious Teammate: Lindsay shows aspects of this.
  • Took a Level in Badass: While a few of the characters could fit this trope, the best example would be George, which is shown as the film progresses.
  • Undead Child: When Jimmy goes to deliver his final pizza before prom, the family he encounters are all zombified, including the young daughter.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jules takes this attitude when Lindsay suggests that, before the group go to the school, they take a say a prayer.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Essentially what Kyle thinks is happening.


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