Bloody Good Show – George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead
To horror fans, there probably isn’t a man more beloved than George A. Romero. He’s responsible for not only creating arguably the most popular sub-genre of horror, but easily it’s most shinning examples. He may not be a name on the lips of the most average film watcher, but he’s without a doubt as big an inspiration to film makers as any Oliver Stone, or Martin Scorsese. His zombie films are more than just horror, they’re always a sharp commentary on the worst of society at that time.
His first three offerings, Night, Dawn, and Day of the Living Dead are all hailed as untouchable classics. He’s branched off more than a few times, but always came back to make a classic. However, after Day of the Dead, he waited another 20 years before bringing the dead back to celluloid.
His 4th offering, Land of the Dead his highest budget yet, at 16 million. A lot of his fans are split on it, citing the zombies budding intelligence and the fact money still has worth as major pitfalls. While the other side, people like me, enjoy the fact that zombies became smart. Romero showed us what happened in the beginning, so he has the right to show us what happens years and years after it all starts. It didn’t take another 20 years for Romero to get back at the helm, only 2. Diary of the Dead is my favorite Romero offering, I feel he really went back to basics, and made a great film. A lot of people feel differently towards it, but they’re wrong.
So, here we are. George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead.
Does he create a new classic, or just another body on the pile of zombie films?
The story is about an island off of Delaware named Plum, where two families who never saw eye to eye have lived for generations. As the dead begin to rise, one of the leaders, Patrick O’Flynn, along with his crew, believe that the dead need to be put back down. The other leader, Seamus Muldoon believes that the Bible has told us that the dead just need to be kept at a safe distance, and that one day they’ll find a cure. His crew gets the jump on O’Flynn, and force him and his boys off the island.
Else where, there’s a ragtag group of soldiers that we’ve seen in Diary of the Dead, as well as Land of the Dead. So, far as I’m concerned, we’ve seen the this guy’s story over a three movie arc, and we know he dies in a thicket of zombies. Awesomeness.
They’re lead by a badass named Crocket who isn’t typical, and is probably my favorite leading man from any zombie film. Along with him is 3 other soldiers, and a teenager they find a long the way. As they, much like everyone else in the world, try and find a place to go where nothing is happening, they hear of a little place called Plum. So they, along with the outcast O’Flynn, head on over to the little island off of Delaware.
Once they touchdown, the war begins. They find that Muldoon and his gang have been killing innocent people who’ve come to the island, seeking refuge. From this point, it turns into a war between the sides, with some zombies mixed in.
Honestly, this is Romero’s weakest effort to date. It’s not a bad film by any means, but it’s incredibly bland. When you get Romero, there’s a certain thing you come to expect. Things like zombies. Well, with Survival of the Dead, it’s more like a drama with some zombies peppered around.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a fine portion of zombies, but you just never get the feeling that anyone is in actual jeopardy. Everyone is armed, everyone sees them coming, and that’s that. There’s only one cool, over-the-top zombie death, ala Rhodes in Day of the Dead. The rest is just from people getting bit, or getting shot. The last act of the movie is great, we get a ton of zombie carnage, and people finally dying at their hands. However, it only lasts for about 10 minutes. It sucks that much more because of how much you wish the rest of the movie delivered like that.
I also have to mention that the effects were lacking. There were no stand out zombies that looked bad-ass, they all looked very bland. As if the make-up took 2 minutes to apply. I can understand the logic behind it all, as that’s how zombies would actually look, but dammit, I want Dr. Tongue! I want zombie cheerleaders with their teeth showing through their cheeks. We don’t get any of that. Then, on top of all that, we get a lot of cheap death effects. Digital blood, sloppy looking green screen deaths, things like that.
It’s a real shame that Romero wasn’t able to hit the mark this time around. He had some great characters, with great actors to back them up with. He had an interesting idea with the family/posse using violence and force in order to keep the zombies alive. But alas, the zombies seemed to be more of an inconvenience than the apocalypse.
Over-all, it’s not a bad zombie movie, just a disappointment considering who’s at the helm..
Deaths: 20 [give or take a couple]
Best Kill: One of the ranch hands is fallen on by a horde of really pissed zombies and they rip him to shit. You see this guy get literally ripped half, with his spine dragging in the grass.
If you guys don’t feel like waiting until the later part of May to see this, it’s currently available on OnDemand. It’s $10 since you’re getting the fat exclusive.