Blue Jean Douglas runs the local strip bar in a small mining town but she is planning to sell it off to a local developer. On the eve of the bar’s closing, a group of miners come to partake in a show, however, they are the unwittingly carriers of a zombie virus. Now Blue Jean and her girls must do what they can to defend themselves from the undead whilst trying to prevent the disease from spreading outside the bar.
Well, here we are. Another zombie movie. Not only is it another zombie movie but it’s another zombie movie where the gimmick is strippers. How many are movies are we up to now that features strippers and zombies?
You know what? Don’t answer that. I don’t care.
Regardless of however many there are I’ve seen at least three of them and that feels like one too many. One movie would be fine, two would be tolerable but pushing it, whereas three is downright silly. And I say that, not because they’re bad movies, but because it’s not an interesting gimmick.
I understand the reason for making a stripper-zombie movie; it’s an easy sell. The potential for sex and sleaze always sells. At least in a DTV-horror market. More importantly though, it grants the filmmakers permission to have restrictions. It limits the number of locations and the amount of cast members that are needed. The most beneficial restriction is that it narrows the scope of a zombie-apocalypse.
What’s easier to film: a barren, empty city that’s overrun with the undead or a dozen-or-so characters trapped in a bar?
And I’m not faulting “Peelers” for doing something that others have done since there are plenty of chamber piece films out there that are fantastic. However, the choice of characters being strippers and having it set in a bar gives away the fact that this story was written for the convenience of the budget (and sellability), not because they found an interesting approach to a zombie film.
This kind of approach creates unintentional limits as well. Primarily, limits in potential. The choice in location/characters prevents the movie from growing or going beyond its simple gimmick. “Peelers” is not an overtly bad film; it’s simple and straight-forward in doing what it wants to do. The problem is that, in the end, what makes it bad is that it’s bland and forgettable. It relies on the use of strippers as a way to prop it up so everything else about the movie is given no greater attention or effort into making it anything other than passible. There’s nothing unique about “Peelers”; there is no distinction between it and the other zombie films that use this premise or zombie movies in general.
“Peelers” does try to up the ante a bit with comedy and over-the-top goop-n-gore, but like everything else, the results are merely average. The only distinction in the film’s humor is that it leans heavily on the juvenile side with such moments as a character named Thundercunt going on stage and queefing into a microphone. Certainly inoffensive but it gives you an idea of how low this film is swinging.
About the only notable aspect of “Peelers” is the main character Blue Jean (played by Wren Walker). Surprisingly, for a movie hinging itself on a cheap gimmick of strippers, a strong character was developed with an enjoyable performance by the actress. A bit clichéd and time is wasted on her backstory (which has no baring on the story) but a protagonist was created that could defend herself and sought to protect others. She doesn’t whimper or scream and isn’t saved by any of the male characters — she takes on the zombies herself. While “Peelers” won’t be leading the charge for feminist films any time soon, it was just nice to see that the writers handled their character decently.
Of course that’s all undermined by the inclusion of a end-credit scene that features Blue Jean stripping on stage and doing something involving a baseball in order to get in one last cheap laugh.
I guess that’s the movie in a nutshell — undercutting potential by going for low hanging fruit. Having said that, “Peelers” is fine for what it is. It’s not any better or worse than other zombie movies out there that are riding on a gimmick, whether they be strippers, milfs, wrestlers or whatever. It’s the kind of movie that’s perfect for adolescents who want something with cheap laughs and boobs. And maybe it's aslo the kind of movie for when friends gather and want to watch cheap movies with bad food. Personally, I think there are better movies to choose from for that kind of situation but, then again, I find myself frustrated with “Peelers” and its peers. Not because it’s bad, but because it’s bland and I’m burned out on needlessly average horror movies.