Oh, boy… Horror-comedy is a hard mix, folks. It’s so easy to go too far into either territory and forget about half of your audience. The latest title from Sparrowhawk Pictures, AHOCKALYPSE, attempts to succeed at the subgenre – to mixed results! Based on the screenplay by Wayne Harry Johnson Jr., AHOCKALYPSE follows a championship winning hockey team anxious to celebrate their victory. However, their big party is ruined by the start of the zombie apocalypse. Bummer! What started as a night of rowdy fun quickly turns into a bloody, sexy, wild ride as the hockey team fights their way back to the arena for an epic showdown with the undead. Winner takes all (literally…) in AHOCKALYPSE, due to hit VOD outlets nationwide on August 17, 2018. You can also purchase a DVD copy here.
I had high hopes for AHOCKALYPSE when it started. Honestly, its picture quality and atmosphere closely mirrored that of the 2008 Day of the Dead remake. Just really good camera work and the typical march towards disaster, with attempts at dirty or sexual related humor thrown in. As far as that comedy is concerned, it was subtle and dryer in the beginning; so it actually hit home and was quite successful. Then, as the film went on and perhaps ran away from Wayne Harry Johnson Jr., it was less effective and bordered on eye roll material. I’d like to believe that I’m not that old yet, where I’d be out of this film’s target audience, but 80% of the funny parts failed to make a goal here. The parts that I did like, though, included no one really giving a shit when one of their died and everyone being out of breath every time they ran – even if it was just around the block. Had the movie been less in your face with its attempts to make you laugh, it would have been much more enjoyable. I also did not like that all the hot characters died first!
And I think a lot of opportunities were missed in hopes of making AHOCKALYPSE the American Pie of hockey zombie comedies. All of the lead and supporting cast members – Jesse Rennicke, Alex Galick, Squall Charlson, Kaylee Williams, Gabrielle Arrowsmith, and Mason Hendricks – delivered adequate to average performances, but they were never given the chance to really shine due to the script material. I think they had it in them to do better, if challenged. Wayne Harry Johnson Jr. had a whole town to his advantage; using it wisely and covering it in blood. AHOCKALYPSE had a lot of phenomenal special effects, whether it was the zombie make-up or gore splatters. I think that was one of my favorite things about it… as well as the giant tiger mascot. Because I’m simple minded. And using the zombie hockey team as a final boss felt very much like a video game cut scene and I loved that cool, retro climax in a movie like this. Very unexpected.
With scores that ranged all over the place – scifi, romance, comedy, drama, and horror – AHOCKALYPSE is deserving of its official VOD release this week, if not at least a run on Redbox. Writer, director, producer Wayne Harry Johnson Jr., producer Craig Patrick, cinematographers Adam Natrop and Mark Kasper, and editor Jeremy Wanek, plus all of the cast members, put together a horror comedy that was low in both categories, but was pleasing in almost every other aspect. Plus, the creators got to work with Kelly Chase, the enforcer of the St. Louis Blues for nine years, and Barry Melrose, defenseman of the Toronto Maple Leafs. If the film’s creators are fans of both men, and hockey in general, then the dream doesn’t get any better than that. AHOCKALYPSE is a good “turn off your brain and enjoy” movie, and it’s best viewed with a group of friends and a whole lot of beer! Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.