Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Movie Review: Day of the Dead (2008)

  The DVD cover-art says "Based on the motion picture... by George A. Romero", but don't you believe it.  Unlike the Dawn of the Dead remake, which was amazing, Day of the Dead sucks, having almost nothing in common with the original. Ving Rhames. who was one the more impressive members of the cast of Dawn of the Dead, returns for a brief role in this schlock-piece.  Starring in this film is Mena Suvari from American Beauty... and unfortunately not topless.

 The film starts with some teens messing around in an abandoned building that is the front for a military medical research lab underground.  One of the kids manages to get infected with something that quickly spreads throughout the town.  At first it is thought to be an extreme form of influenza, but when the dead start to rise, it becomes clear that something else is going on.  The National Guard is sent in to quarantine the town, with Rhames as Captain Rhodes leading the mission, and local-girl Corporal Bowman (Suvari) being Rhode's driver and second in command... never mind that a Captain would have several Lieutenants and about a dozen Sergeants in his chain-of-command.

 Cpl. Bowman discovers that her mother has the illness and that her little brother is missing.  Her brother, Trevor, is hold-up with his girlfriend, a DJ, and another couple in the small town's radio-station offices.  When the infection spreads to the National Guard troops, it is up to Cpl. Bowman to get herself and the few survivors she has with her out of the town.

 The most horrifying thing about this film is that it cost $18,000,000.

 The film does make a few nods to the original, most obvious among them being "Bud", the vegan Private-turned-Zombie who still retains enough of his former self to follow simple military commands, not attack his living companions (he doesn't eat meat), and to still carry a flame for Cpl. Bowman.  "Bub", in the original Day of the Dead, was also a zombie that retained something of his former self and was being domesticated.

 Even if you ignore the almost total departure from the original, this still is not a very good zombie flic.  At points, the plot seems to plod along, making the experience that much more excruciating for the viewers.  There are a vast number of superior zombie films made for much less that would be more worth your time.

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