New characters arrive with a sometimes clever freeze-frame biographical pop-up--including a (not always accurate) life expectancy prediction. The characters fill a standard checklist: a salty bartender (Clu Gulager, father of the first-time director), a seen-it-all/done-it-all old woman (Eileen Ryan), a nefarious boss man (Duane Whitaker), a single-mom waitress who condescends to sex with the boss man because she needs the money (Krista Allen), the son who moves from his mom-assigned hiding spot to give us a fright (Tyler Patrick Jones), a Kewpie-doll waitress called Honey Pie who wants better things (Jenny Wade--promoted from her role as Cupcake in "The Ice Harvest"), annoying business guy/motivational speaker (Henry Rollins), a guy in a wheelchair who develops a clever escape plan (Josh Zuckerman), jerky brother of the wheelchair guy whose jerkiness is forgiven because he loves his brother (Balthazar Getty), a few folks for appetizers and, of course, monsters with a hunger for humans. Check, and double-check.
Now the plot: Shotgun-toting Hero (Eric Danes), carrying a decapitated critter's head, bursts through the door warning of imminent danger. Monsters launch first attack, causing confusion and some friendly-fire casualties along with those chomped by monsters. Hero's wife, Heroine (Navi Rawat), arrives and takes control. Oh no, the phone was destroyed and cells don't work out here! Let's split up, so some can go upstairs to use the shortwave radio, while other head for more ammo in the basement. Splitting up is always a good idea, right?
You get the idea.
When monsters attack, the camera gets all jerky, creating the horror effect known as motion sickness. There's blood--lots of spurting, waitress-dousing blood--so that soon Honey Pie needs to peel down to her skivvies to wash off and arouse the boys. She's real purty. Yup.
Fans of the horror-comedy genre probably will enjoy this movie (which, for the home-entertainment crowd, will be available on DVD Oct. 17), even though chuckles outnumber scares. There are a few near-surprises that are OK. The best news is, there's room for a sequel--and don't run out when the credits begin to roll.