Director – George A. Romero
Cast – Alan Van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh, Richard Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Munroe, Athena Karkanis, Devon Bostick, Stefan DiMatteo, Julian Richings
Release Year – 2010
Reviewed by John of the Dead
As a lifelong horror fan I have always cherished and enjoyed George A. Romero’s work, particularly his making the zombie sub-genre as big as it is. While his original trilogy, Night/Dawn/Day of the Dead, is obviously his best work to date, I still found joy in Land of the Dead and a positive experience from Diary of the Dead. After hearing quite a bit of negative buzz about this film, I decided to see this one for myself, with an OPEN mind, and I did. Thankfully, this film in my opinion is a nice watch from Romero that does not focus so much on zombies themselves, but takes a new approach that focuses on the other “dead” beings walking about…us.
This film is set a few weeks after the events of Diary of the Dead, meaning this is occurring about the same time as Dawn of the Dead. A group of rogue soldiers lead by “Nicotine” Crocket(Alan Van Sprang) looking to survive the zombie onslaught make their way to the island of Plum, far away from the zombie-infested mainland. What should have been a much better, and safer, scenario has turned into one far more dangerous than they imagined. The dead have managed to infest the island as well, and things turn to worse when they are thrown in the mix of a violent war between two Irish families running the island. One family, the O’Flynns, wants to rid the world of the zombies, killing them immediately. The other family, the Muldoons, wishes to keep the zombies alive while they look for a way to incorporate them into society. With the lethal mix of zombies vs. humans, and humans vs. humans, it seems mankind has finally lost itself to the undead.
When I first read that Romero was going to put out another “Dead” film after Diary of the Dead, I thought to myself, “Geeze…another?”. The reason for my negative thought was because ever since his original trilogy each film(Land and Diary) declined steadily in greatness. This is exactly why this film surprised me. Simply put, it didn’t suck. While this was a step up from Diary of the Dead as far as it’s camera use(thanks George for putting the POV away), its execution and storyline were inferior, making this Romero’s third film in his descent from greatness. Granted, this flick is better than a lot of other crap out there, but for what it could have been and for whom its writer/director is…it should have been better.
The faults with this film lie in its story and screenplay. The conflict between the warring families was nice, and what they stood for was a nice contrast. Unfortunately, I could not find myself caring for any of the characters we were given. I picked my side, and rooted for them, but did I care for them? No, not at all. It also did not help that some very silly scenes were thrown into the film, especially a twist that should have been awesome, but was instead quite dumb and unfulfilling. I blame the execution for that one.
As expected, the most positive note with this film is Romero’s direction. I am surprised to say that despite its storyline faults I was very in tune to this film, never straying away nor finding myself bored. This is thanks to Romero’s great camera work, nice scene setting, and of course…his zombie action. We get more than just the usual zombie action with this film in that we have warring humans going at it against each other as well. I also liked that the humans didn’t have the usual tactical carbine weapons but instead relied on old wild west lever-action rifles and single six-shooters. As usual, we get a zombie gore-infested climax that added a unique element to the zombie sub-genre…zombies eating and devouring something NOT human. Watch, and you will see. Personally, I thought it was awesome.
Overall, this is an OK watch from horror maestro George A. Romero that will most likely only be truly enjoyed by those who love his work no matter what he does, or those maybe looking for a zombie flick that does not focus entirely on zombies. Give this a watch and make your own opinion, do it for George.