Starring: Alban Lenoir, Charlie Bruneau, Tiphaine Daviot
Genre: Horror/ Comedy
Olympique de Paris are one of the biggest football clubs in the French league, and an away game against the lowly team from a small town called Capelongue should be a formality. The tie is made all the more interesting by the return of Sam Lorit (Lenoir), a local boy playing his first game against Capelongue since his big money transfer to Paris. Lorit was never expecting a grand reception, but what he didn’t expect is for a highly contagious rabies-like infection breaking out amongst the locals and Lorit, his teammates and the remaining locals face literally the game of their lives (well, that should be for their lives).
So we have yet another zombie film using the phrase ‘of the dead’ in its title as some kind of cheap pun, this time it is football! Genius! Well, having seen the likes of Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead and Flight of the Living Dead (both terrible but great fun), my expectations were understandable low for this Gallic football/zombie mash-up. Adding to the football themes, the film is split into two halves (geddit?), with the first half directed by Thierry Poiraud and the second by Benjamin Rocher, and to prove it they both have their own unique title sequences. This basically forms many of the self-aware jokes throughout the film that I am pleased to admit often work. At just under two hours (not the 140 minutes like it says on imdb) it is a little too long and there is the occasional lull in the pace, the slow start with its ‘character development’ is admittedly quite dull, but as long as you do not mind subtitles (and if anyone does then they are a philistine), it is a very enjoyable and often quite funny blood soaked romp, and the fact it involves football makes little difference, so if you hate football you should not be put off.
Well, when I say zombies, in Goal of the Dead it starts with a former childhood friend and teammate but now enemy of Sam Lorit that got left behind still playing for Capelongue being injected with apparently performance enhancing drugs that turn him into some crazed mutant. The seemingly incurable infection is spread by the infected puking on others, and them becoming puking and rage infected nutters, so they are hardly the un-dead. All those that regard football fans as brain dead hooligans may especially find something to laugh at in this film, and I am very certain this is an angle the filmmakers went for in Goal of the Dead too.
The story itself is not particularly inspiring and many of the characters very clichéd (but a few are admittedly quite memorable), with subplots that are perhaps a little dull at times and make the running time longer and the pacing slower than it should have been. However some of the acting is quite charismatic and there is enough self aware humour and visual gags to make Goal of the Dead an enjoyable enough blood-soaked Gallic romp.