Saturday, 20 November 2010
George R. updating(violating?) 'the zombie rules' with SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD
After seeing the dismal trailer which boasted laughable CGI and a zombie on horseback I was prepared to hate Survival and pity Romero who, I though, has clearly lost the plot.
Only tonight did I muster the guts to watch his latest zombie effort and was surprised to find it fast-paced and hugely entertaining.
One complaint I have always had with Romero's movies was how static his cinematography could be.In such classics as Dawn of the Dead he seemed solely to care about editing.
However, in Survival Romero employs quite a few tracking shots(one or two begging to be qualified as magnificent), his camera creeping through the foliage after the characters. Perhaps this is something he'd liked to have done in his early films but didn't have the means for.
Most annoying aspect of the film apart from the usual pathetic CGI bis is the bland score. It's what you'd call stock horror cues. George, go for Dixieland jazz, go for prog rock - anything!Please no more typical string music that merely telegraphs every other zombie attack!
SCENES THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CUT:
Clearly, a brief episode of Sarge shooting zombie heads impaled on sticks.
Unconvincing effects. Pointless and adds nothing to the film except serve as a faint echo of an early basement scene from the original Dawn.
Romero still enjoys devising (increasingly far-fetched)ways of despatching the ghouls.
In Diary of the Dead he had a hospital zombie's brain fried with a defibrillator.
In Survival he tries something of the sort with a fire extinguisher.
Old boy obviously has no intention of taking himself or his oeuvre too seriously.
Personally, I'm fine with that. Let him have his fun. As long his films remain as consistently entertaining as Diary and Survival have been, I'll stick with Romero.
Survival of the Dead is affected with that old syndrome, familiar from Italian zombie trash such as Hell of the Living Dead. The syndrome manifests itself in characters who have been handling zombie attacks throughout the film with cool efficiency suddenly behaving like retards and ending up bitten. Not really credible. But I don't blame Romero for that. A standard good gore movie formula is 'charters getting killed at regular intervals'. Even at price of losing any realism.
Why hasn't Survival gone to the cinemas while Land did? While both movies have lousy CGI, Land is slower and has a lot more annoying characters than Survival. Ah well, life's unfair.
-Has Romero lost it?
He sure lost the indie feel. His films have average Hollywood film production values now.
Whether that's a good or bad thing depends on the viewer's taste.
One thing is certain - Romero's cynicism is still there. There are great ironically downbeat moments scattered throughout the film.
Want to see zombies eat something other than humans? Check out Survival of the Dead!