27 Days of Fright (The Reprint) – Day Seventeen

Originally Published Wednesday 22nd October 2008

Day of the Dead

George A. Romero is revered in horror circles for his work in making classic zombie films in the seventies. As you can expect those films have been since remade, most notably Dawn of the Dead, which is a decent remake of a classic. I say classic but to many people The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a classic while I think it’s shite, and from that you can guess what I think of the original Romero films, which is why the remake of Dawn of the Dead is so surprisingly good. Day of the Dead, on the other hand, is more like the originals.

Day of the Dead sets the scene with a couple trying to get their son to a hospital in Colorado. They, like many other townsfolk, are stuck at a military blockade that is sealing off the roads around their town. The army lads are under the command of Ving Rhames and are mostly young soldiers. One of the soldiers with a little seniority is Corporal Sarah Cross (played by Mena Suvari, who took me a little while to place, it’s yer one from American Pie and American Beauty, and to think she had such a promising career once upon a time…) is actually from the town being contained. As you may have figured out at this point, the military are there to quarantine the town after an outbreak of some virus that turns people into zombies.

Young soldier Sarah heads into the town to gather up her family and along the way is waylaid by zombies and survivors looking for a way out of the town to escape the terrible virus, blah, blah, heard it all before…

Singing Bye Bye Miss American Pie, I spent the whole movie wishing that you would die…

Day of the Dead is a surprising little movie. It’s no surprise that it’s woeful rubbish or that, even for a sort of remake, it’s brutally unoriginal. What is surprising is just how bad it really is. I mean really. This is a zombie movie (that I hasten to add only mentions the word zombie once) that doesn’t really feature any blood or gore. The film-makers tried to get gory but lost the run of themselves when they decided to make the gore computer generated. With the exception of the make-up effects (which aren’t bad, just not that shocking) the blood and guts are done on a computer. This, coupled with the lacklustre storyline and piss-poor performances from the lead actors, gives you the feeling that it’s not an actual film you’re watching at all, it’s more like sitting down to watch someone play a video game.

I wish I knew what makes film producers go down the road of viruses causing all these zombie-like incidents. Out of the zombie movies on the list of 27 films there are none that use the old idea of zombies rising from the grave as reanimated corpses, though The Serpent and the Rainbow comes close. Maybe next time I’ll rustle up an old fashioned zombie flick, or maybe the remake of Dawn of the Dead.

Two thumbs down for Day of the Dead.

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