OOM #30 – Survival of the Dead (2009)

Hello everyone and welcome back to the penultimate day of Halloween horror, the penultimate day of Overlook’s October Madness, and here we have the last entry of the series of the ‘of the Dead’ films. Today ‘Survival of the Dead’ (2009) was the film that James Rolfe talked about in his Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness (which he wrongly labels as a 2010 film), and you can watch his video here. Tomorrow he’ll do a full-length commentary on the ‘Night of the Living Dead’ (1968) film to close the month, but since I’ve seen that classic masterpiece of the zombie genre, I’ll be tackling something different, and as this movie was released in 2009 and I have no horror films left in my list, I’ll continue my method of advancing one year at a time with my previous method, and I’ll continue with 2011, the year that we left on. Now, onto my review of the last (until now) Dead films by Romero.

What did Romero think after he made his first POV found footage film? I hope that his first reaction after he saw it was ‘I ain’t gonna do this again’, because the results were quite lackluster. The aim of the film was clear, but the execution just plain sucked, so what does he do? HE MAKES A DIRECT SEQUEL. How could he think that it was a good idea? And we just follow one of the minor characters from one of the worst acted scenes of the film, with the Army showing up and stealing the food and things that the crew of filmmakers had, as well as pointing their guns and doing a class on Human Rights. So, we follow this character and we put him in one of the two stories that seem to collide, but not much collide as this character appears in another story just to give the films some sort of continuity that the Dead Romero films never needed. The film would’ve been better without him and just about the story of the Island of the Dead that was the main struggle and important issue of the film, as well as the most interesting parts of it taking place there. The movie is about two groups of people in an island, one is trying to clean and kill all the zombies, while the other group is trying to see if they survive and if they can learn to eat something that isn’t human, which is an interesting concept and it’s explored in the final minutes of the film with great effect and some harsh repercussions. So, why does this film doesn’t even come close to the first four films in the series? Well, mainly because of how dumb and uninteresting the military characters are, as their weight in the story is the same as in the world, they are the brute force, they bring the guns and the violence, but never the solution, what’s the point… wait, am I having ‘Diary of the Dead’ (2007) review flashbacks here? This actually might be smart!

So, here we have a bunch of military people, underwritten and more like clichés than anything, and they appear out of nowhere in a much more interesting story about family, health, survival and country-people, and they ruin their world introducing elements that shouldn’t be there. What a better analogy to the power of the american army in the entire world, how they travel to this Irish island of sorts just to make their presence, get the money and get out of there, was that the whole message of the film? Wow, Mr. Romero, you made it, you did it, you deserve the points. I don’t understand why this film is so maligned in the first place, it has some decent zombie action (on par to something quiet and simple, yet horrifying at spots like in ‘Day of the Dead’ (1985) ), and the message is neat, maybe it’s the fact that the movie seems to go so wrong whenever it focuses on the military, and it’s right, it’s boring and never interesting to follow these characters, and that’s unforgivable, but let me say this: at least it had a mood, at least it looked good, at least it makes sense, at least it has (some) interesting characters, at least the things that happen actually matter, not a lot of these things can be said about ‘Diary of the Dead’ (2007) which I could defend from a delirious stand point, but not from the point of view of a cinematic critique, what else could I say? The movie does pose some interesting questions for the future, and I hope that Mr. Romero does continue making movies until he’s very very very old, and I guess we need a new zombie film, something to cleanse our palates, something that would make a revolution. Revolution of the Dead? Fits the times.



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