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Undead or Alive (2007)

Director: Glasgow Phillips
Starring: James Denton, Chris Kattan, Navi Rawat, Matt Besser
Rated R  Running time: 91 minutes
Released by Image Entertainment

Three decades of movie watching has taught me that it is generally a good policy to avoid anything starring any past or present cast members of  "Saturday Night Live." That goes double for films billing themselves as "Zombedies." So it was a little disorienting to find myself amused by, and even laughing at, Undead or Alive, a zombie western that is guilty of both of the above.

Luke (Chris Kattan, "Saturday Night Live") and Elmer (James Denton, "Desperate Housewives") are a couple of bumbling wannabe cowboys trying to hightail it out of town after robbing a corrupt Sheriff (Matt Besser) of a bag of loot. Complicating their getaway is a curse put on the White man by Geronimo, which manifests itself in the form of a plague that transforms the living into flesh eating ghouls. The pair eventually team up with Geronimo's sexy niece (Navi Rawat) and try to make to Colorado before the Sheriff, his zombie posse, and the U.S. Army catches up with them.

While many of the gags fall flat, Undead or Alive is a lot funnier than most of the, umm, "zombedies" that are flooding the market.  Much of this is thanks to Kattan, who is almost restrained in this when compared to his usual over-the-top performances. His character, the prissy pseudo-cowboy who wears colorful western attire and carries a cameo containing a portrait of his horse, gets most of the laughs. Comedian Brian Posehn has a non-speaking part as the farmer who starts the zombie outbreak. There are a number of gory effects (courtesy of KNB vet Robert Kurtzman), and the anachronistic soundtrack features surf rock and a variation on the theme from Brokeback Mountain.

All in all, it's an entertaining entry in a genre that will hopefully die soon.

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