Re-Elected certainly sounds familiar enough. A bunch of college friends reunite at a cabin in the woods to party like they did back in the day. Then somebody finds a cursed manuscript that raises the dead ruins everyone’s weekend. Director Max Radbill (The Sisterhood of Girls Who Won’t Date Me) and co-writer Eric Looney put a new twist on it, however. It’s the Fourth of July weekend and a cursed copy of The Declaration of Independence unleashes several zombified presidents on the partiers.
Nate (Cameron Gilliam, Triples Alley) is throwing a party for the holiest day on his calendar, the Fourth of July. His girlfriend Mary (Chloe Mikala, Paperless Pulp) and best friend Markus (Matthew DeHoff, Campus Police) are there. As is Evan (Kayvon Kaliush), who has a thing for Nate’s half-sister Angela (Natasha Mercado). Jennifer (Rebecca Clendaniel), who everyone remembers as the life of the party, says she’ll be there after work.
Four score and seven drinks later Nate finds a copy of the Declaration of Independence, “This party just went from 10 to 1776), and begins reading from it. Bad idea, it unleashes the undead versions of George Washington (Erik Alexis), Abraham Lincoln (Matthew Friend), and Andrew Jackson (Gabriel F. Bellotti, Apex Predators, Agent Revelation) upon the partiers. Unlike the reanimated leaders in President’s Day however, the dead presidents of Re-Elected have an agenda beyond simply killing partiers. They want their country back.
It sounds like Re-Elected is a political spoof disguised as a horror film, but thankfully it isn’t. It is a comedy and it does make fun of Nate, and by extension, those whose knowledge of the USA is based on episodes of Schoolhouse Rock and films starring John Wayne or Chuck Norris. The ones who have no knowledge of the country’s actual history but believe all the myths of Americana. But its humour is aimed as much at horror films as at the horrors of the American political system.
And it does skewer everything from holiday-themed horrors, The Evil Dead and cabin in the woods films in general to uber macho heroes and dysfunctional sibling relationships. It’s cheesy, frequently physical humour and the cast energetically throw themselves into it. Editor Brennan Kerr also deserves a mention for making several of the sight gags work so well. The result is an enjoyably silly and good natured send up of the genre. Even when it does get political Re-Elected may get a little less good natured, but it avoids getting overly nasty. The jokes are considerably less pointed than those in films like Bad President and President Evil.
On the horror side of things, Re-Elected manages to save on zombie makeup by having its undead become more human-looking as the film progresses . That money went on practical gore effects including a decapitation and a torn-off arm. There’s no CGI in the film at all actually, even the pit of Hell scene was done with practical effects. And while never really frightening, the scenes of our heroes fighting with the undead are nicely choreographed and not played for slapstick laughs. For example, Mary’s fight with George Washington itself is played straight. The laughs come from Nate and Markus’s comments.
Re-Elected is just the film to watch between the end of your July 4th cook out and the start of the fireworks. Those not from the US should still find it funny. You only need a very basic knowledge of American history to get the jokes, and every country has people like Nate in it.
Re-Elected is available on various digital platforms. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details.