Saturday, October 6, 2018

SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD (2009) movie review

Survival of the Dead (2009) d. George A. Romero (USA/Canada) (90 min)

Reportedly inspired by the Gregory Peck/Burl Ives western The Big Country (1958) and shot in Canada and Nova Scotia, this is a decided change-up from Diary of the Dead, its immediate predecessor, with POV camcorder shots replaced with gorgeous widescreen vistas. But the clunky social commentary, the ridiculous (and unexplained) Irish accents, the lack of likeable or empathetic or non-cartoon characters (living or undead), etc. reduce it to an entirely forgettable effort, just another low-budget zombie movie in a decaying sea of same.

The only spark seems to be in the creative offings of the shamblers (with fire extinguisher/flare gun head explosions leading the pack), but since most are executed using woefully shoddy CG effects, there’s no genuine thrill to be found here either. The rest of the time, things seems to be done simply for the “ain’t never seen that before” novelty factor (zombies driving cars or riding horses) or a similarly unjustified “why the hell not” approach (see: feuding Irish-accented Hatfield/McCoy island-living characters living off the coast of Delaware).

When this was originally released, back when Uncle George was still amongst us, the general reception was chilly at best and openly hostile at worst. Now, nearly a decade on, my sighs are fueled less by livid frustration and tinged instead with melancholy disappointment that this proved to be the Undead Godfather’s swan song.

Trivia: Alan Van Sprang (who plays tough-guy Sarge aka Crocket) is the only actor to appear in three consecutive “Dead” films under Romero, though his character in Land of the Dead is billed as “Brubaker” – due to the films being produced by different companies, it was impossible for there to be any continuity without copyright infringement, i.e. no one wanted to pay for it.


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