The zombie movie has been done so often that you have to have a gimmick for your zombie movie now to make it even remotely interesting. For Stalled¸ the gimmick is that almost the entire movie takes place inside the stall of the women’s restroom. As far as these things go, having your film be limited to taking place in such a confined space could be a great way to heighten the tension and claustrophobia of the situation. This is a horror comedy, though, so it could also just be a great way to get a lot of poop jokes and women’s bathroom humor.
The main man in our one man show is W.C., a janitor in an office building on the night of the office Christmas party. He is doing some routine maintenance in the women’s restroom when some ladies from the party show up. He panics and locks himself in the stall when what was looking like it was going to be a sexy tryst between some co-workers turns into the start of the zombie apocalypse. His only companion during this is a woman in another stall that we don’t see. Now he has to find a way out of his tiny zombie prison, save the woman in the other stall and probably learn the true meaning of Christmas or something.
As a premise, Stalled is an interesting take on the genre. Normally zombie movies tend to be about groups of survivors and the social intricacies that occur between them. To limit your cast to essentially one person and a disembodied voice feels like a fun way to push the boundaries of what you normally get. Which occasionally works out in fun ways. W.C. draws what he thinks his friend looks like on the bathroom wall and when they talk to each other we get the camera going back and forth between him and the drawing such that the simple picture is given more life for both the viewer and the character. As a character, W.C. also ends up being nuanced enough that you don’t mind spending time with him. He is cowardly but still cares for others, he was actually stealing from the company when the whole thing broke out, and he is silly enough to be amusing but not so much so that it’s a full caricature.
That being said, a movie can’t just skate by on a premise alone. Right away you see that the makeup and effects being used here seem more like a friend’s YouTube video than an actual motion picture. This also goes for the acting and the zombies themselves definitely giving off a vibe of “Some people the director knew sat in a make-up chair for 5 minutes.” I know it’s supposed to be a horror comedy but the zombies almost never feel threatening and it feels like they’ve entirely disappeared every time the movie stops focusing on them. Also the big reveal in the movie is that the voice that he believes to belong to a thin woman is actually an overweight woman that he overheard being made fun of earlier. She then kills herself at the end just because she wouldn’t be able to fit through a crawlspace and that will help him escape…somehow. It is especially pointless given that the crawlspace plan doesn’t work anyway.
I think the movie had potential and probably could have been much better than it was given a better budget and some talent behind it. I’d give it a 3 out of 5 and figure it’s worth the watch if just for the novelty of it.
Favorite part of the movie: The running gag about “Jeff from IT” that keeps coming up.
Least favorite part: The psychedelic, drugged out hallucination zombie dance scene. It is not anywhere near as interesting as that might sound.