Jake (Jake Cannavale) is having a rough day at school. Not like high school is the easiest thing to experience, but on top of that the star football player is giving him a hard time and Jake is having tummy issues. Then lunch rolls around and that is when he and the class babe Amanda (Angelique Rivera) suddenly transform into flesh-eating zombies and kill all of their friends before fleeing the scene. In the new zombie rom-com, Eat Brains Love, we get a new take on “zombie” lore along with plenty of laughs, gore, and even a little romance. It’s a nice mix that actually works quite well in the hands of director Rodman Flender (Idle Hands). However, with the mostly-clever script from Mike Herro and David Strauss, we get a fun ride full of negligible plot holes and the lack of a third act that leaves us hungry for more.
The premise; the zombie “virus” is a known pathogen and part of everyday life. It is only transmitted through sex. Furthermore, it is only triggered when the latent carrier gets aroused by either anger, hunger, or libido. Just before said lunchroom massacre, we are treated to a sex-ed class where the rules are efficiently conveyed.
Jake and Amanda wake up from their bloody bender, unaware of their previous meal. It is only their blood-stained clothes and a video on one of their friends’ phones that tips them off that they are carriers. Hot on the trail of these teenage meat-eaters are clairvoyant Cass (Sarah Yarkin), and her partner Tom (Jim Titus). As part of a government agency bent on capturing and exploiting the emerging zombie class, Cass and Tom are under the command of the creepy as hell Mr. Bowtie (Patrick Fabian). A clairvoyant himself, Bowtie surmises the connection that Cass has to Jake and demands the capture of the zombies on the run.
Let’s start with the bad. The script, as stated before, left us scratching our heads more often than not at certain plot points. Not wanting to give things away, it would seem that there was no need for the Cass character aside from providing a bit of romantic tension as she bonds with Jake, and Amanda begins to fall for the boy she hardly ever noticed until they shared a common malady. Let’s be clear, Yarkin is a joy to watch as she channels Alia Shawkat in looks and comic timing. But her character has little reason to exist aside from being a plot device. I am loath to ding the charming script again, but with a wonderful build-up, the movie ends in almost jarring fashion. The journey was great, but we really could have used a better ending here.
Now for the good. The movie is hilarious at times if a little too schmaltzy. The film moves along at quite a clip thanks to the keen editing and sharp direction by Flender. There is also great chemistry between the two leads as the unlikely pair who must pair up. In particular, Cannavale has some great comic timing playing the school schlub who has suddenly landed the hottest girl in school, despite the fact that they both eat people now.
This isn’t a zombie movie that takes itself too seriously and should be enjoyed on those terms. The blood flows freely, the jokes fly for the most part, and the pic never sits still long enough to become dull. Take a bite out of Eat Brains Love, but go ahead and eat ahead of time lest you be left hungry.