There aren’t many sports as violent as hockey. It’s a game that requires a certain degree of toughness to skate at high speeds and smash against the boards. Oh yeah, and there’s plenty of fighting, too. If there were ever the zombie apocalypse, it’s hard to think of a better crew to have on your side than a hockey team with their sticks, assortment of pads, razor-sharp skates, and grizzled toughness. That’s the central idea behind writer-director Wayne Harry Johnson, Jr.’s Ahockalypse, a very low budget horror-comedy hybrid. Ahockalypse never takes itself too seriously which helps with the hockey/zombie lunacy, though the film gets very sidetracked in the middle from what makes it unique.
The Prairie Kings have just won the hockey championship. The team led by Jonesy (Jesse Rennicke) and his good friends BJ (Squall Charlson) and Wave (Alex Galick) celebrate their victory in the way that hockey teams celebrate – with alcoholic excess. However, their celebration is unexpectedly cut short by an outbreak of zombies chomping upon the flesh of unwitting victims. Of course, most of Jonesy’s teammates exist in this film to serve as zombie fodder. Jonesy and his crew must race through the streets to find their way back to the ice rink where they aim to make their last stand, but standing in their way are a couple of Mad Max: Fury Road obsessed scavengers, Jonesy’s controlling and unfaithful girlfriend Jenny (Kaylee Williams), and an army of zombies.
Ahockalypse works best when it’s just focused on a bunch of drunken hockey players using their equipment and hockey skills to kill a bunch of zombies, only you have to wait towards the end of the 80-minute movie to get to that part. Things get really weak in the middle when it’s basically a group of people running across town avoiding a zombie plague which makes it indistinguishable from countless other no budget zombie movies. It gets even dodgier when Jonesy and company have to contend with Jenny and the Fury Road goons, as the film’s central premise isn’t strong enough to pad out a full 80 minutes. It certainly doesn’t help that the film contains numerous references to better movies, often by simply having characters repeating lines from those movie verbatim.
Writer-director Wayne Harry Johnson, Jr. brings a real childish sense of humor to Ahockalypse, which works when it’s not overbearing in its immaturity. One particular sequence in a strip club is painful in its immaturity. Other times, it’s just absurdity and that’s what works best for the film’s comedic approach. A mascot utilizing kung-fu to battle zombies is entertaining in its rampant absurdity, also reminding me of the more ridiculous fight scenes in cinematic history in the action flick Sudden Death. Though often leaning too heavily on CGI gore effects, when practical effects are used, Ahockalypse makes sure that there’s plenty of gore flowing from the veins of the varied victims.
The biggest problem facing Ahockalypse is the lack of consistency from scene to scene. It quickly veers back and forth in terms of quality, with one outrageous scene that works followed by an outrageous scene that flops. It’s a B-movie through and through, but it struggles to maintain its identity throughout the story. Ahockalypse can be entertaining at times and frustrating at others. If only this team of beer-guzzling misfits spent more time on the ice instead of running the streets.
It’s hockey players vs. zombies in Ahockalypse, the wildly uneven horror-comedy hybrid from writer-director Wayne Harry Johnson, Jr., which is half absurd and entertaining B-movie and half immature nonsense.