"You must treat them with affection," says Jockish
. "Except for dogs, no other animal is as anxious to bond with human beings-or as totally rejecting of anyone who mistreats them.
In a setup that merges zombie-thriller and teen-movie tropes, Norman and his reluctant allies--who include chubby classmate Neil (Tucker Albrizzi) and his jockish
older brother, Mitch (Casey Affleck)--must fend off an undead army in a dark forest, a pitchforkwaving mob and a witch with a 300-year-old grudge (voiced with memorable shrillness by Jodelle Ferland).
Signs of prior bloodshed, "Night of the Living Dead" clips on TV and lumbering zombies gathering in the yard hardly calm their nerves, or those of the other unnerved party guests found locked in the basement: a belligerent father (Gavin Grazer), his wife (Carol Ilku) and daughter (Bryana Dorfman), and Karen's jockish
friend Keith (David G.B.
Disputes over elk-hunting boundaries arise between pack leader Winston (Danny Glover, in full authoritarian mode) and rival pack kingpin Tony (Dennis Hopper, in one of his last completed roles), leading to the good-faith betrothal of Kate to Garth (Chris Carmack), Tony's preening, jockish
In addition to showing off his basketball prowess, the thesp gets a few amusing monologues to play, such as when he publicly humiliates Alex's jockish
tormentor (Hunter Parrish) or gives an unsolicited pro-abstinence lecture in Maggie's classroom.