Diary of the Dead (2008)
Director: George A. Romero
It’s a bad day to be alive and human! All around the world the dead are coming back to life to take a bite out of our buttocks! We follow a group of film students (who were filming a horror film when the shit hit the shit) as they struggle to survive and film their misadventures while the world around them becomes DEAD and HUNGRY! Arrow says in creepy voice: “They’re coming to get you YouTube!
I guess there really is a King Neptune rolling doobies at the bottom of the sea! Cause who else could’ve had a screener of DIARY OF THE DEAD fall in my lap with such ease. Divine intervention baby! DIARY OF THE DEAD is of course Writer/Director and all around cool dude GEORGE ROMERO’S fifth go around at his “must be” cinematic Zombie obsession and here are my 3 cents and change on it.
ENOUGH! Although DIARY OF THE DEAD was an often suspenseful, occasionally humorous (loved the Hamish dude – classic Romero humor) and randomly scary ride, I can’t say I blew a load all over it. The flick introduced me to a group of fairly boring and paper thin lead characters (only hot pants Debra stood out for me) and then put them through the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD ringer. Yup, that’s what this flick felt like to me; a quasi remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD but with a “dude shooting the events with his hand held cam” approach and a YouTube/MySpace angle to it. Hence on one severed hand, I was sucked in by the happenings, dug on the seldom yet hard hitting Zombie ruckus (nobody handles the undead better than Romero – end of story), wowed at the gory goods and for the most part I was never bored. Moreover I, esteemed that out of all them “the characters are shooting it” horror films; shaky cam and motion sickness were at a all time low. Props!
But on the other severed hand it all felt way too familiar, trivial (I so didn’t believe how they justified a “score” being present) and was mucho predictable. And no, not even the YouTube/MySpace crap made it feel fresh for me. In fact, it got on my f*cking nerves! I’m supposed to buy that the dude holding the camera is more obsessed with filming then saving his friends? More concerned with uploading footage on MySpace than sparing his own skin? What’s the “message” here? The new generation own Macs and are selfish voyeurs? Yawn! If that’s the case, our YouTube, any twat with a webcam can have his 10 seconds of fame society is more pathetic than I thought. Now I yapped about the film with some buds afterwards and they’re take was; the dude is hiding behind the camera, it gives him distance from the happenings hence he’s able to go on. My answer to that was: FUCK OFF! I didn’t get that at all! And I;m sure the non existent character development didn't help. All I got was a clumsy, underdeveloped and farfetched way to keep the ”reality filming” going.
Now I know that this review makes it sound like I loathed the movie more than Victor "kid diddler" Salva himself, but I didn’t, I had an okay time with it and that was the problem. I expect more than “okay” when it comes to Romero, I expect KICK ASS! Also, I didn’t need a reboot of the DEAD franchise, I craved a continuation. What happened after LAND OF THE DEAD? This whole starting over shite after 4 films peeved me off! You know what? George should just give us another Dark Half, another Monkey Shines or another Martin already! He said all he needs to say about the undead. He should leave them in the ground where they belong and MOVE ON! Just my opinion of course and last I checked it isn’t worth SQUAT!
The flick wasn’t a gore a minute deal but when it back-handed, it did it with Ike Turner oomph! I’m yapping gun shot wounds, head eaten by acid (nice one), varied impalings (like the double head one), a head split in two, grisly bites and more! Yes some of the CG blood was obvious but on the whole; the gore came through!
Michelle Morgan as Debra and the Professor played by Scott Wentworth stood out (I remember the latter due to his accent and his boozing ways – great man). Everybody else was credible yet highly disposable.
T & A
I appreciated the quick flash of some chicks’ boobies… really… I did! Nice tangerines on that Panda!
Romero put out a genius grasp on suspense, some dread filled mood and managed to make his “seen through some dude's hand held camera” spiel not feel like a roller coaster ride gone wrong. Well done!
I know there was one but I don’t remember it, so you tell me!
Maybe if I had never seen NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, I would’ve been floored by this one, but I did see it and I didn’t need to see it again with stale characters (where's Ben when you need him) and a “modern” twist to it. Granted, DIARY OF THE DEAD was well shot, contained some tension laced bits, good gore and a couple of nifty ideas. I watched it, had a decent time and now, yes, I forgot all about it. Romero is cannibalizing himself here and he’s better than that. If the whore is dry, don’t lather her juice-box with KY to force feed another hump. She’s freaking dry – her expiry date is up - toss her aside and move on to something new. And that’s how I feel about Diary of the Dead, Romero is dry when it comes to the Dead, been there done that – chuck that shit away for a while and move on to something new.
The flick was shot in 23 days!
Look out for audio/visual cameos by Wes Craven, Stephen King, Simon Pegg, Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro, Greg Nicotero and George A. Romero himself.
THE OFFICIAL DIARY OF THE DEAD MYSPACE PAGE HERE