Well, thanks to the wonders of copyright infringement and the advent of file-sharing, our Zombiephile has managed to actually sit through the new Day of the Dead remake, and it’s…well, it’s a zombie movie, that much we can tell you. Much less than a remake of the original George Romero Day of the Dead, the new movie is a trite simplistic, a bit silly, and generally lacking in the social context in which the original was written. Nonetheless, it’s a perfectly watchable zombie movie and even featured a few interesting innovations in the zombie genre that left this Zombiephile rubbing his stubbly, unwashed chin.
The latest in a series of “alternative” takes on the original Romero titles, this one was directed by Steve Miner, of Halloween: H20 fame and written by Jeffrey Reddick, writer of the absolutely delightful Final Destination series, in coordination with George Romero himself. Reddick’s playful writing seems out of phase with Miner’s somewhat blunt and unoriginal storyboarding, resulting in a somewhat lame, meandering movie that leaves the viewer unsure about timing and character relationships.
Among the long list of silly things appearing in Day of the Dead, this Zombiephile was particularly struck by:
- Zombies that can somehow cling to and crawl along the ceiling. Perhaps that particular zombie was supposed to be Peter Parker? I just don’t see how acceptance of the zombie genre implies suspending the laws of physics.
- An zombie virus that keeps changing characteristics. I don’t mind if you make up a zombie virus and stick to it. But at least keep it consistent. At one point, it’s described as airborne, then becomes obviously fluid-born, and the zombie infections features wildly varying incubation periods.
- A zombie transformation that goes from human to peeling-flesh in five seconds. There’s just no disease that can do that because human tissue just doesn’t seem to be able to do that. Twenty minutes, ok, but five seconds?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I thorougly enjoyed Day of the Dead, but I don’t really feel like it had as much Oomph as, for example, the Dawn of the Dead remake of a few years back. It’s a solid entry in the zombie genre and features some pretty gruesome and gory fight scenes, if that’s your thing, and there’s some pretty good eye candy to be had throughout the movie. The zombies are pretty scary and pretty fast, almost supernaturally so, and it makes for some pretty tense, nail-biting moments.
Day of the Dead continues with the idea of the original movie, that humans living in close proximity to zombies begin to notice some remnants of the zombies’ original personalities remain after the transformation, particularly ingrained, conditioned behaviors. Just as in the original, Day of the Dead features a sympathetic zombie character, an army private whose vegetarianism and loyalty to command set him apart from the mindless, flesh-craving hordes.
Mena Suvari gives a fairly good turn as a military brat with some pretty major family problems, not the least of which being that she has to run her zombie mom over with a Humvee halfway through the movie. Nick Cannon’s levity seems a little out of place in his martial role, but Pat Kilbane pulls off a pretty decent and sleazy army Doctor whose meddling with biological weapons proves to be the cause of the zombie outbreak. Overall the acting is so-so, with the zombies once again pulling off the best performances. I particularly enjoyed the zombie-mom, wandering through the neighborhood. Priceless moans, really.
We’re going to go ahead and give this one three moans, out of a possible four, since the action was pretty good, but the story was pretty much crap. This complements the original Day of the Dead, which was pretty good plotwise but was total crap in terms of actual zombie action. The original did, however, have an absolutely fantastic soundtrack that just somehow didn’t get translated into the new movie.
Catch Day of the Dead when it comes out on April 8th, but make sure you don’t eat too much before you head to the movie – there’s quite a bit of decapitation throughout. Sweet!
And just because we love you, here’s the official trailer for Day of the Dead, courtesy of Youtube: