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   Final Film Critique: 

Ryan Graham
   Expected Rating: R due to language and                                brief nudity
   Distribution: No Exclusive Distribution
   Budget: $5,000
   Genre: Horror/Comedy

   Running Time: 102 minutes

   Release Dates: October 15, 2005

   Review Date:
February 15, 2006
   Reviewed By: Chris Treen
Livelihood is a comedic horror film that is sure to leave you in stitches (slap me if you will, I admit the pun was terrible).

This film covers the lives (or should I say, un-lives) of three people and their closest associates. To understand what an amazingly cool piece of work it is, I'll break down its storyline in-depth.

The onset of the film places us in the presence of the mid 80s era Rock God Billy Jump (Stephen B. Thomas) who is in the process of firing his entire band after what he sees to be a mediocre performance. After it is suggested that concerts are all about the show rather than the music, Billy expulses his band mates from his dressing room in a fit of rage. He next goes into a self destructive binge of drugs and alcohol which results in his untimely demise thanks in part to an electric guitar and a bottle of hooch. Exit Billy Jump.

Next we move on to the home of Alexander Keaton,(Scott P. Graham), a man in dire need of a backbone. He lives as a virtual slave to the spending needs of his girlfriend who is secretly having an affair. At work, his sycophancy only grows worse as he attempts to gain a much-coveted promotion from his boss Mr. Endicott. Endicott has Alexander stay late to dispose of some documents and the situation deteriorates and winds up with Keaton being decapitated by a masked samurai in what at first seems like a purely random event. Later it is proved that foul play was in fact involved. (As though masked samurai decapitating people could be explained any other way!)

Billy Jump learns the hard way
that drugs and rock'n'roll...
...can be a real killer on
one's complexion!

We next enter the home of Jean (Amy Smith) and Roger (Lewis Smith). Roger's mother Vida (Michelle Trout) has moved in and is making life a living hell for Jean who is able to do little good in her mother-in-law's eyes. Jean is seeking therapy for the anguish caused by living in close proximity to the woman with whom she is forced to share her husband Roger. Roger tires of the conflict and issues an ultimatum to his mother: Treat Jean better, or go to a nursing home. Meanwhile Jean is busy cooking the family's favorite dessert, tapioca pudding, and appears to put some unknown substance into the pudding. Vida consequently is poisoned and collapses at the dinner table as death snatches her away in mid-tirade against the beleaguered Jean. Exit Vida.

As with most Zombie films, some freak accident of man, machine, or nature has occurred, thereby causing the dead to rise and walk among us. Unlike your typical zombie film, there are no undead mobs roaming the streets in search of unsuspecting grey-matter to devour. Indeed, not only do they completely forego the traditional gravy train of brain consumption, they actually attempt to re-integrate themselves into their former lives.

Most of the great bands of our time have had one of their member's die tragically …but what if the deceased member came back and rejoined the band as one of the undead? This is the main idea pitched by Kashgrab Records who signs on the newly resurrected Billy Jump for a new record deal. Because he was dead longer than most of the other characters, his speech is incomprehensible unless he belts forth his dialogue in a Guns'N'Roses-esque falsetto. You can imagine the issues a zombie would face if he could only speak by singing like Geddy Lee from Rush. Billy's story moves on with hilarity as he attempts to get the old band back together for one more tour. He is accompanied by Beat Ovin (Mike Bennett), the original deaf keyboard player for his band (and the only one Billy felt had any real talent). So we essentially have a screeching former rock idol and a hearing impaired pianist attempting to recruit the rest of the band members who have moved on with the times. I won't give too much away, but it involves quite a bit of laughter.

Alexander Keaton has found a new lease on life and is back from the grave, as well. He attempts to re-enter his old house scarcely a month after his death only to find his former "love" in the arms of one of his female co-workers. He is kicked out on the streets and is only barely able to acquire a catering job from his former boss Mr Endicott. As he works in this new position, he meets Zoey Endicott (Kara Webb); a misunderstood, yet compassionate goth girl. A tender relationship begins as Zoey takes Alexander under her wing much to the outrage of Mr Endicott who threatens to disown Zoey. She helps Alexander learn to talk like the living once more and begins to see what a kind and sensitive person he still is. The two soon come across evidence that Mr. Endicott has been embezzling company funds, and the two decide to try and bring him to justice--goth/zombie style!

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