Deep Dish Apocalypse

By David Codeglia | Comedy
2 co-workers meet on an abandoned subway platform during a zombie attack.

Traci is having a horrible day. A virus has ravaged Los Angeles, which has turned her boyfriend Josh into a zombie that attacked her in their home.

Bloodied and carrying a tennis racket as her only weapon, she escapes from her home and stumbles into an abandoned subway station to escape, where she runs into her co-worker Doug, who is also fleeing the coming apocalypse. When he discovers that Emily is now single, he decides to seize the opportunity to vie for her affection — if they both survive this very strange virus, that is.

Filmmaking team Bell-House Productions — with producers/stars Emily Bell and Ron Morehouse, and director David Codeglia and writer Trey Nichols — have crafted a delightful rom-com twist on the typical horror film. Or is that a horror twist on a romantic comedy? It doesn’t matter, especially when a short is so impeccably written and directed, with the polish of a Hollywood feature and plenty of clever wit and dialogue.

The film begins with a suspenseful sequence that wouldn’t be out of place in a conventional thriller, if not for the bloodied tennis racket that Traci clutches, which gives viewers a clue that this isn’t your typical horror film. When she runs into Doug, the situation is played with equal parts sincerity and sarcasm, with the two exchanging witty banter and quips about everything from the correct nomenclature for zombies to subtle digs about Traci’s ex-boyfriend Josh.

Both Bell and Morehouse as the leads deftly balance both the comedic aspects of the performance with the horrific circumstances under which they “meet cute,” with Bell expertly peeling off zingers and Morehouse playing off her superbly as the suitor trying to win her heart despite impending doom. They bring a terrifically paced script to life, one that lets viewers enjoy the comic juxtapositions while keeping the drama of the circumstances alive. There are some LOL-worthy one-liners that would become cultural catchphrases if this film were a feature or TV series, and they’re delivered with pitch-perfect timing and feeling.

What works especially well, though, is that the film commits to both of its main genres with equal aplomb. The comedy may first take the lead and captivate attention, but the horror parts of the film are crafted with genuine suspense, with solid editing and camerawork constructing effective moments of chills and thrills. In this way, the film should appeal to fans of cult favorites like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which not just blended both comedy, horror and romance, but played these tropes off one another in fresh, often resonant ways.

“Deep Dish Apocalypse” is a short that more than lives up to its intriguing title, and its 8-minute runtime is a genuine delight from start to finish. Smart, fun and entertaining, it expertly balances zombies with romance, mixing clever banter with buckets of blood for a memorable and engaging short. By the film’s end, you’ll be rooting for Traci and Doug — and you might never look at melted cheese the same way ever again.

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