|May 28, 2010|
|George A. Romero|
|George A. Romero|
|Horror, Science Fiction
Rated R for strong zombie violence/gore, language and brief sexuality
|Survival Of The Dead
There is a unique experience in viewing a zombie flick directed by the man that revolutionized the genre, much like it probably felt to watch Picasso paint. Romero broke onto the scene 32 years ago and altered the horror brand forever, making the idea of zombies what it is today. Survival of the Dead gives off a radiance that makes you feel at home in the presence of a Romero contrivance, allowing one to confide in the man that set the undead wheel in motion.
Zombie films ride a fine line between tacky and utterly grotesque. The die hard fans recognize such a line, but embrace it, finding the best of each side. However, taking a step back during Survival of the Dead to survey the situation, a realization occurred: the thought of undead humans eating other humans has been demoralized to the point that they appear humorous rather than appalling. Survival of the Dead, however, comes to the same realization and embraces the notion, yet still uncovers a way to make the film less gaudy.
The idea of Survival of the Dead is simply. On a small island, a wealthy local man, Sheamus Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) has taken it upon himself to capture and train zombies. The sooner zombies are willing to eat non-human flesh, the sooner humans can coincide with zombies. On the island, zombies are chained up, left to continue their menial tasks from before they were killed/deceased. A zombie mailman continuously places the same mail in the same mailbox, a zombie farmer drives over the same patch of dirt, all while a lady zombie rides her horse around the entire island.
Cue Sarge “Nicotine” Crockett (Alan Van Sprang), the leader and hero of the film. Leading a team of ex National Guard, the rumor spreads of an unaffected island, sending the team in that direction. On their way they take on a young boy (Devon Bostick) as well as a shoot-out with Patrick O’Flynn (Kenneth Welsh). O’Flynn ends up revealing he is a native to the island and due to his differing opinion from Muldoon, (that all zombies; men, woman, and children, should be killed) he was cast away. Returning to save the island and kill Muldoon, the showdown begins between the two equally matched opponents.
The thrills can be chalked up to that of the Dead Rising video games, in which the characters use whatever means necessary to defeat the zombies. This includes shooting the zombies with a flare gun and watching their head explode in a fireball. Reminiscent of the recent success Zombieland, the hits are relentless and continuous. Take this how you will, but as a zombie-killing aficionado, I thoroughly approve.
The art of viewing a zombie film is to take each scene in stride. Sure, the flesh eating undead has somehow become laughable, but at one time, zombies were terrifying and there are portions of Survival of the Dead that continue this, like the scene where a particular cowboy longs to be with the one he loves, except his lover is a zombie who, despite their history, still wants to eat his face off. Perhaps it was simply my respect for Romero or my ability to hone in on the aspects that were unnerving, but Survival of the Dead successfully continues the acclaimed line of Romero’s Living Dead films.