them, they’re us.”– Barbara
haven’t seen Romero’s original in a while, so it wouldn’t be fair for
me to compare the remake with it. All I remember from the 1968 classic is
that it felt dated and that Barbara was a yelping banshee. I’ll have to
hit this remake as a stand-alone.
simplicity pays off and this flick is Night Of The Living Proof of that.
The story here is character/situational driven and sticks to the basics.
The zombies are just "there" and we’re never given an explanation as to
why they’ve returned from the grave (I loved that approach). The
directing also serves the movie, never standing out to a point of distraction
and the makeup effects are kept grounded in reality. Nothing fancy here
and it works!
Character-wise, I really got attached to Ben (Todd) and Barbara (Tallman). Ben’s
survival instinct and good heart really appealed to me. As for Barbara,
witnessing her evolution from a vulnerable young woman, to a strong and
resourceful fighter was very engaging. Strong female characters always
appealed to me more than the whole “helpless dame” thang. We can now
add Barbara to the Ripley, Sarah Connor list of ass-kicking chicks. You go,
girl! The film itself moves at an even pace, has a truckload of
suspenseful moments, offers mucho zombie/human confrontations and even
takes the time to make a statement about the evil that men do at the end. Yes,
I started feeling sorry for those poor living chumps.
a negative standpoint, some of the effects weren’t always up to par. Am I
the only guy that thought that the “Uncle Rege” zombie sometimes
looked like a huge yellow balloon? And am I the only one that spotted him
deflating when Barbara gave him “le coup de grace”? That took me out
of the vibe a bit. Then we have the dialogue which for some reason often
sounded like it was straight out of the 60s. For example, who calls
somebody a “yo-yo”? I mean, you’ve got living corpses wanting to chew
your balls outside! I think words like “FUCK”, “MOTHERFUCKER or SHIT
would be more appropriate than “yo-yo”. Maybe it’s just me. On a
script level, two things really irritated me: 1) Barbara suggests
outrunning the zombies early on and it's clearly obvious to me that it’s
the best idea. But Ben poorly rationalizes that it would be safer to lock
everybody up in the house instead. Didn’t make sense to me and I
didn’t buy it. The screenwriter could’ve thought of a more convincing
argument to keep the characters at that location and 2) What kind of moron
shoots the padlock on a gas tank with a 12-gauge shotgun? He was just
asking for that one! 'Nuff said.
overall, "Night Of The Living Dead" has enough tension, clever twists, action
set pieces and engaging characters to satisfy. The film kicks in from the
get-go and doesn’t let up till the end. This remake is far from an
embarrassment to the original, and from what I remember about Romero’s
classic, dare I say that the remake improves on it? Shit, did I say that
out loud??? Burn me at the stake!!! To be honest, I’d have to see
Romero’s gem again to fully back up my jive. Either way you hack it,
this flick is a focused, well-made horror treat. Load up that shotgun boys
and girls, it's zombie bashing time!