10 March 2009

Rural's Week of the Dead

I was sick last week and, in between episodes of Degrassi and American Idol, I got the zombie bug and ended up watching a string of zombie films for no real reason other than I started and couldn't stop. All of these were first viewings.

There's spoilers. Duh.

Dawn of the Dead (1978): Is Zack Snyder's remake maybe just a teensy bit more fun to watch? Sure. I watched the extended version so perhaps that played a part, but it seemed like this one took a little long to really get going. But Snyder's version is not nearly as smart. It's refreshing to see a horror movie with a cast of human beings. Like, the people at the center of this movie just feel real, and I liked them for it. I didn't feel like there were any characters I was actively being forced to root against. I felt a little bad for them when they got into trouble. I know Romero gets some grief nowadays for making the ending less nihilistic, but I kind of like the idea that our central characters are flying off in a helicopter headed for god knows where. It adds a little hope, yes, but how much when you really think about it?

Day of the Dead (1985): So, I understand this had collected a bit of a cult following over the years, and I can understand why. This is certainly a much more cerebral film than the first two entries in the series which, unfortunately, makes it a lot less entertaining at times. It's quite dour and claustrophobic which works toward the mind set of the characters, of course. It just makes it a little hard to get through. You can see in the military characters too that Romero was starting to devolve into good vs. bad guys plot lines (see Land of the Dead further down). And I think I understand that this is the chronological last film in his series, coming even before Land of the Dead. That's crazy because we really don't get a lot of closure about what happens to the world. The characters end up on a tropical island somewhere, literally counting their days, but I guess we're just supposed to assume that the world is pretty much over? Whoa.

Day of the Dead (2008): First of all, this has absolutely nothing to do with the original other than the fact that the army is involved. These aren't even technically zombies, if you want to be technical, since they're actually infected like the creatures in 28 Days Later, not to start that debate up or anything. This isn't a horrible movie, actually, if you remove it from the original, certainly compared to a lot of straight to DVD horror. It's just kind of silly. And all I can say is thank god they killed of Nick Cannon badly playing Samuel L. Jackson, though I think a much longer death would've been in order. And, really, when did it become commonplace to fill horror movies with so many unpleasant people that bicker the whole time and have poorly timed personal conversations? Also, it's time to retire the last second jump-cum-promise of a sequel from the zombie movie.

Land of the Dead (2005): Ok . . . so the credits SAY this was directed by George A. Romero, but I'm pretty sure Steven Spielberg did it. Like, what was with the E.T.-ification of the zombies? I'm sorry. I don't feel sorry for them. They want to eat me. Maybe you should kill the lead zombie who's teaching them to use guns instead of playing inspirational music and letting them go ahead on their journey bla bla bla. Also, really? A 9/11 metaphor? Really, George? Again . . . ZOMBIES EAT PEOPLE! What's with all of this Guantanamo-zombie posturing? Asia Argento is in this movie, though, so I cannot hate this movie. It's true that her character had tenuous ties at best to the plot, but you get Asia in there however you can.

Dance of the Dead (2008): Future horror filmmakers, please hear this. NEVER work overtime to make a character or characters obnoxious and then expect me to enjoy the fact that they have lived in the final reel. If you're going to set up characters as unlikeable, at least have the decency to off them as they gain redemption yada yada etc . . . The two nerdy characters really grated on my nerves. I'm sorry. I know I'm supposed to find them endearing, but no. Otherwise, though, this is a pretty fun little movie. Funny in all the right places and featuring a pretty creative use of dead frogs. BUT . . . if you're going to sell your movie as a prom/zombie movie, you might want to actually show us the prom, ya know. Why segregate your main characters when you have a whole gym full of horny teens ready to get bitten? Or at least that's what Stacie Ponder thinks. All in all, the movie IS a lot of fun, despite its faults, and surprisingly well-acted.

Dead and Breakfast (2004): So here's what I think happened. Someone with a lot of marginally famous celebrity friends (i.e. Portia de Rossi, David Carradine, Erik Palladino, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jeremy Sisto, Diedrich Bader) had some money lying around and thought it would be fun to make a supernatural voodoo zombie movie. My prime suspect's Miranda Bailey since she happens to star and executive produce. I mean . . . I dunno, I suppose it's funny and gory enough, but it was all just a little bit confusing. There's a lot of bells and whistles with the country singer/narrator and the Buddhist monk, etc . . . Some of the gory scenes work well, though. It's watchable even if you get the sense it kind of wasn't meant for anything else than a home movie between friends who got bored and decided to pass the time.


Print Wall Stickers said...

Simply brilliant! I'll have to add you to my reader!

Anonymous said...

I loved, loved the characters in "Dance of the Dead", that's the magic of the film really. You care about the characters and don't want them to to get eaten.

"You give me 2 minutes and I'll have this place wired like a crackhead drinking a redbull" :)