Bong of the Dead Review

Movie: Bong of the Dead
By: Maniac E
Date: November 18, 2011

There will be bud!

When I first heard the tag line for Bong of the Dead, I laughed and tried to push my expectations away. “There will be bud!” Sounds like it belongs in just about any stoner zom-com that has been made to date. Then of course, I spent some time online, checking out the info on the movie before I sunk my teeth in. What I’ve learned while digging around online and checking out the official Bong of the Dead (BOTD) website, I found out that Thomas Newman used a single camera, $5000, and did all of his shooting in only fifteen days. I wasn’t expecting a cinematic masterpiece.

When the world is overrun by zombies, two pot heads make the best of the situation, by finding a way to turn zombie brains into fertilizer for super potent hyper-growing pot! But when they run out of brains... they begin the hunt to harvest more! It seems to us there are two ways to look at Bong of the Dead... two different conflicting ways. The first way is to look at it from the point of view from which it was made. A small-budget, independent film created mainly by a single person. Directed, written & edited by Thomas Newman. The second way is to compare it to all zombies movies on a whole, whether they be independent flicks or Hollywood blockbusters.

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Out of the gate, I told you I wasn’t expecting anything supreme. However, this film did manage to exceed my expectations by leaps and bounds. While some of the special effects were cheesy and very obviously computer generated, they almost felt like they were supposed to be that way. The gore was fantastic, the zombies were very VERY well done, which can be credited to Mike Fields (Worked on Narnia 1 and 2, Masters of horror television series). The humor and dialogue was exactly what I was expecting. The actors vibe well together and played the roles well. The story itself was a lot of fun with unique weapons, a vehicle with capabilities reminiscent of Dead Alive’s beloved lawn mower scene. Watch for “Evil” zombies, mech-like robots, and Wynn in a banana hammock.

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On the other hand, when compared to the zombie genre as a whole, there are some lacking elements that can't be ignored. While we all agreed the music was great, the sound effects were not. We counted a few times where the sounds didn't match the visuals at all. For example, the sound of a car engine turning over before the key was turned. (On a side note: does a seized engine even try to turn over?) The audio for the actor's voices was obviously re-dubbed afterwards as well, painfully re-dubbed. A lot of the time the character's mouths would move out of sync with the voices, and there were even times when we swore the character's mouth was saying something completely different than the audio portrayed.

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Think of the dubbing of Lucio Fulci's “Zombie” and you'll get the idea. It's very noticeable at times, and detracts from what's going on, especially during the scenes that are meant to develop characters. Also, while the CGI is admirable (believe me, it's better than some Sifi productions), there are some shots that are so blatantly CG, the crash-landed meteor at the start of the film being an obvious one. The actors try to work the best that they can, but it's still obvious what's real and what's been done by computer. But hey, the effort is there, and very appreciated.

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Once this bowl's been smoked, Bong of the Dead is one film that definitely deserved it's spot at Cannes. The fact that the film was shot in such a short time on so little money, and the fact that it was all largely one guy is nothing short of astounding. Even if you're not a fan of zombie films or comedy films involving stoners on their wacky adventures, this is still one that indie filmmakers should see for the technique and the determination to get your idea out there and done right.



Image quality

Shot in highDef means you see everything sharp but also the not so polished things. Image quality is good.


With re-dubbed track it is really horrible to watch and listen to. This is an production failure but makes sure that movie is only watchable with a few beers and friends.


As for the extras there is enough to let this movie stand out. It almost feels like a make up deal for poor sound quality. There is an making of section, what means post kind of gag o rama thing, some trailers and alternative trailer and more.


This disc is a nice one to have and see how low budget movies can become bigger. It shows how to do some make-up styling and just how to go around on a set. So great extras, a nice movie just such a shame of the poor audio quality.



Bong of the Dead


Bong of the Dead


Thomas Newman






Simone Bailly, Mark Wynn, Jy Harris