Seasoned Olympique de Paris centre Sam Lorit (Alban Lenoir) reluctantly returns to Caplongue, his village hometown in Northern France, for a cup match with his old lower league club. But he’s met with a hostile reception owing to an incident 17 years previously – that caused him to become estranged with his father and ended his friendship with local player Jeannot (Sebastien Vandenberghe).
When his revenge-seeking father injects Jeannot with contaminated steroids, he transforms into a rampaging vomit-spewing zombie who sets out to kill Sam. Along the way, the rabid Jeannot infects players, spectators and the town’s inhabitants, who soon converge on the local stadium where the few uninfected humans – including Sam, cocky star player Idriss (Ahmed Sylla), Sam’s love child Cléo (Tiphaine Daviot) and Parisian sports journalist Solène (Charlie Bruneau), have barricaded themselves in. Let the football bloodbath begin…
While borrowing heavily from Shaun of the Dead, this zomcom certainly scores on its own merits, and is a riotous blend of sports satire and undead splatter mayhem. Originally shown as two films in its native France, Goal of the Dead has now been combined to create a game of two halves, with the first directed by Benjamin Rocher (The Horde) and the second by Thierry Poiraud (The Return of James Battle).
The script (from six credited writers and one consultant) takes a satirical kick at overpriced footballers, their money hungry managers and soccer fans (the brain dead variety, that is), while French audiences will certainly lap up the Paris vs The Rest of France digs. The actors are all suitably cast in their respective roles as clichéd fans, managers and players, while Lenoir’s fit football star could certainly give Beckham a run for his money in the looks department (especially when he gets his kit off).
Lashings of eye-popping gore are on show, and it’s all filmed – mostly under stadium floodlights – in a highly stylised manner, although the smoke screen from the flares being lit up during the big match climax does make it hard to catch some of the undead action, especially one of the film’s highlights – a human head is used as a soccer ball.
All in all, Goal of the Dead scores and makes for a perfect post-World Cup treat.
Goal of the Dead is released on DVD in the UK through Metrodome Distributing, and be rented online from Metrodome VOD