Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Box Office Review – Survival of the Dead

42 years after the creation of Night of the Living Dead 70 year old George Romero directs the six film in the series Survival of the Dead. I have been a supporter of the Dead series including the lesser films Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead, but Survival of the Dead I cannot support. Survival follows the character Sarge "Nicotine" Crocket who had a very small part in Diary of the Dead. He while trying to find a safe place from the Zombie apocalypse ends up in the middle of a war between two families the O'Flynns and the Muldoons. The O'flynns our exterminating every Zombie including family members and the Muldoons want the Zombies kept alive until a cure is found. The story also includes a Zombie twin who rides a horse, and it is that statement that should guarantee most people won't see this movie.

One of the main problems with Romero's dead series is that each film since Day of the Dead (except for Diary) has evolved the Zombie. In Day of the Dead it is introduced that Zombies learn. In Land of the Dead it is that Zombies have left over memories. The new concept that Survival tries to introduce is that Zombies can be taught not to eat humans. This element is presented in a weird way in the film. At first it appears that the theory of a Zombie being taught not to eat human is false. This happens after a character tries to stop a zombie from biting her. This fails and the chick gets bit. She then watches the Zombie bite a horse and she feels that the not eating human theory has been proven. This doesn't make any sense and in the context of the film is pointless. Romero's films work best when the focus is less on whatever new high concept he has come up with and more on the human survivors.

Romero does try to develop the characters in the film, but there are too many of them and none have interesting storylines. The feuding families' element doesn't work and the group of survivors who the audience follow for the first part of the movie are uninteresting.

It isn't that big of a surprise that Survival of the Dead is horrible. The Dead films rely a lot on cultural elements being commented on and Romero isn't as in touch with today's culture as he was in the 70s. He shouldn't worry though; the first three Dead movies are great enough that the lesser entries in the series won't tarnish his name. I would say that the series needs to be put to rest, but like the Zombies that are featured in them I am sure the series will keep coming back even when dead.

A Banana Peel

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