Thursday, September 2, 2010


Survival of the Dead is an okay zombie film.  George Romero is getting on in years and you can clearly see he has lost some of his touch.  This is the sequel to Diary of the Dead which showed that Romero has completely lost his touch.  So Survival is a step up.  Survival is so unimpressive compared to his original zombie anthology.  Its almost like he took all his B grade ideas and made a different series a mediocre zombie movies.  The original anthology had the idea that the zombies are getting smarter and that the best way to deal with them was to sort of domesticate them.  Well Day of the Dead threw that idea into the ring.  It wasn't a bad idea in terms of the series.  The new movie has a more generic idea with teaching the zombies to eat animals instead of people.  It's an okay idea but it seems so implausible and out of place.  Just shoot them in the freakin head please.

I get the feeling that maybe Ol' George is losing his memory.  Maybe he was watching late night television and the original Dawn of the Dead came on and he was like "Hey, this is a great movie.  I wonder who made it.  I think I will make my own zombie movie."   Meanwhile Tom Savini is calling him on the phone telling him that he made those movies and Romero responds with "Savini who?"  That would explain all the crappy digital bulging eyes and cartoony flaming heads we see in Diary and Survival.  The original anthology had spectacular practical effects.  It was always an interesting story to see how they made all the gore realistic.  The new films special effects are easy and not so interesting to explain. I think on the special features of Survival there should be a making of segment that when you click on it all you see is footage of a nerd behind a computer that says "We used computers".  The End.

Survival isn't scary.  That's the biggest problem.  Zombies are no longer scary in the new films.  They are used for comic relief.  One of the first zombies that dies gets his head get shot off but the top of his head is still intact and falls down onto the neck part that is still intact.  Its like a freakin cartoon.  Zombies are walking tragedies.  At one time they were alive and you see by the clothes they wear who they were before when they died.  It gives them character. They look human and you try to reason with them as you feel the unpleasantness of them eating you.  There is nothing human behind their eyes.  There should be a circle of zombie doom that surrounds our survivors that shrinks and shrinks as the movie progresses until the end where all kinds of zombie carnage happens.  That doesn't happen in this one.  There is no tension or sense that the world is at its end.  They still have Internet and electricity for crying out loud! 

The movie starts off really terrible but as the story goes along it does get better and better.  The hero is a soldier who leads a small group of comrades to an island that has a feud between two families going on.  One family wants to kill all zombies.  The other wants to keep them around until a cure is found.  Survival is kind of a western with ranches and cowboys and family feuds.  Its kind of neat.  But just as you find yourself getting into the film something stupid will happen like a zombie riding a horse and you are immediately dropped back down into reality.  The hero is very good and interesting.  He appears in Diary where he robs the forgettable characters and then leaves.  This movie follows him around which is pretty cool.  It beats watching the annoying stupid teens from Diary complain and cry for two hours.

I won't lie.  I did enjoy most of Survival.  There is a lot to forgive but the characters are interesting enough and there are some good unique moments.  This is the first zombie movie I can think of where a guy turns into a zombie by biting a zombie.  Usually its the other way around.  I would have figured the zombie would turn back into a human.  What if the zombie did change back by being bit by a human?  What am I thinking?  That's a stupid idea.  But you know what?  The zombie genre is so over played that the ideas well is running low enough that I bet somebody will make a zombie movie where that happens.  People turn zombies into people.  Brilliant.  That's so stupid it just might work.  When there are no more good ideas for zombie movies, George Romero will make just okay zombie movies.


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