USA / CANADA 2009 Directed & Written by: George A. Romero Produced by: Paula Devonshire Cinematography: Adam Swica Editing: Michael Doherty Music: Robert Carli Cast: Alan Van Sprang, Kenneth Walsh, Richard Fitzpatrick, Julian Richings, Kathleen Munroe, Athena Karkanis, Devon Bostick
Death isn’t what it used to be, and zombie movies aren’t either. As mentioned earlier, in this day and age zombie movies only have about two ways to go: the extreme splatter fest or a genre-transcending concept (that does not necessarily have to be a comedy of some sort).
George A. Romero’s latest installment of his zombie open-end-ology is a disgrace of his earlier works and the genre he has influenced for decades. Starting with a smart tie-in with his previous film, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD follows the group of soldiers known from DIARY OF THE DEAD and their quest for an island that is said to be a safe zone, free from flesh eaters and inaccessible for any of them.
After no more than a few minutes we wish we skipped this entry and waited for the next. SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD is almost a remake of DAY OF THE DEAD, with the island replacing the bunker and a couple of crazy families experimenting with the zombies trying to train them replacing the scientists. So now it’s the military vs. the islanders instead of the military vs. the scientists. Oh, and the soldiers are now the good guys and the civilians are the bad guys.
SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD has such lousy dialogue, acting and timing that it is comical beyond belief without the intention of being funny. Most of the time it is a dreadful copy of the master’s earlier milestones. Now matter how you look at it you’ll wish for more remakes like THE CRAZIES 2010. Please someone take the zombies away from Romero until he recovers (unlikely, he’s obviously close to retirement).
It appears to me that Romero has most certainly lost it and DIARY was a last lucky fluke. I’d even rank many of the DAWN rip-offs from the early 80’s higher than SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. The film has no relevancy whatsoever: it has nothing new to say (nothing at all actually), it has no charm, no character and it is not really entertaining. This is not about budget or resources; this is about lack of ideas. And a director without great ideas and a vision is nothing but a dork with a camera.
SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD is another sad example of the decline of a once-great director. The dead may come back, but the good old days don’t.
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