Monday, 23 April 2012

Survival of the Dead - Zombie Horror Film Review

George Romero will always be known as the Grandaddy of zombie films with his awesome original trilogy but lately his films have been less good.  Land of the Dead was utter over produced trash, Diary of the Dead was a bit better, and now his latest one Survival of the Dead. I was a tad tipsy when I saw this film, so my mind is not that strong on this one to be honest.

The film starts a week after zombie apocalypse on Plum Island (off the coast of America) where two rival Irish families are having opposing ideas on how to treat the undead. The head of the O'Flynn's (Kenneth Welsh) thinks all the zombies on the island should be killed, while the head of the Muldoon's (Richard Fitzpatrick) believes they should instead be restrained for in case a cure is ever discovered. Their differences leads to O'Flynn and his men being banished from the island. On the mainland to get revenge they direct survivors to the island, knowing that Muldoon hates strangers. A band of AWOL soldiers led by Sarge (Alan Van Sprang) hear the broadcast and head to the island with O'Flynn where they find out that things have turned sour...

What is cool about this film is that Sarge and his soldiers have a small part in Diary of the Dead, that scene is re shown here, it is a nice nod to that film and gives some continuity. Whether it was the Vodka, or my mind frame I really quite enjoyed this film even though it has a load of faults.  First of all, yet again it is not a patch on the original trilogy, played far too much for laughs in places, the most glaring fault though is the over reliance on shoddy CGI which really rips you out the experience with computer generated violence.  An early scene features a load of still living zombie heads on stakes, utterly terrible looking, the old way of doing effects looked so much better.  Some of the deaths are questionable; a zombie whose head bursts on fire after being shot with a flare, a zombie whose foot rips off after getting pegged to the ground with a rake, and a zombie killed with a fork (may have been a small knife) all look terrible.

The story is quite simple, and kinda interesting if Romero had not done the 'power corrupts' story hook so many times before, with the break down of society comes the inevitable break down of rules and order as always.  None of the characters are that good.  Sarge and his team are all generic templates, while the teenage boy travelling with the group is just plain odd looking. I guess O'Flynn is the most fun of the characters, showing different sides to his personality.

Lots of violence, just a shame most of it is CGI, head shots don't have the same impact when they look so clean.  The zombies are ok but they just invoke no fear, even when dragging people to the ground they are just bland, scary zombies equals a better film, it is not hard to make zombies scary. The bad guys don't come across as that bad and there is no one to really root for.

Compared to Land of the Dead this is a classic, but it is still just another slight tarnish on Romero's legacy, still, maybe his next film will be a return to form.


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