The low-budget Welsh zombie film “Granny of the Dead” undercuts a potentially potent horror premise by mining it for gross-out comedy. The movie’s most obvious inspiration is “Shaun of the Dead,” but while writer-director Tudley James has a disarmingly light touch and some stylistic flair, this “Granny” ultimately isn’t clever or funny enough.
Marcus Carroll plays Ed, a twenty-something lad who wakes up one day to find that his “nan” has been transformed into a flesh-eating maniac. She’s killed and eaten Ed’s cat, and now has her false teeth aimed at her grandson.
As he fights her off, Ed calls his mates to warn about what appears to be a spreading plague. Soon they’re all working together to protect their streets from rampaging oldsters — that is, whenever they’re not pulling dumb pranks and ragging on each other, like typical bros.
James makes good use of the middle-class Welsh homes and gardens where his action mostly takes place; and he has an eclectic young cast who make up in authenticity what they lack in acting chops.
But there’s just not much to “Granny of the Dead.” The humor’s sporadic and sophomoric, and in place of a plot — or any kind of commentary about how we ignore the elderly — James just strings together kill scenes. He continues to count on the image of dowdy-looking cannibals to get laughs, long after it’s lost its novelty.
‘Granny of the Dead’
Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills