George A Romero's
DVD Release 15th March 2010
86 minutes approx
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Dolby Digital 5.1
Alan Van Sprang
Patrick O'Flynn -
Seamus Muldoon -
Written by -
George A Romero
Directed by -
George A Romero
28 Weeks Later
Resident Evil: Extinction
The dead have started to walk the earth and feast upon the bodies of the living. One small group of soldiers decide that they would be better fending for themselves than for incompetent superiors and so go on the run. They hear of an island where there is respite from the living dead, but they find themselves caught up in a feud between the patriarchs of two irish families as to how the zombies should be dealt with.
When NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world it was a raw, unpolished and damned scary movie. We've seen a lot zombie films since then and, as the voiceover in the film remarks early on 'we should have been scared of them but we weren't'. That sums up SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. The lumbering zombies have become less the unstoppable and terrifying force that they one were and have become figures of fun to be blown away in as many gruesome and amusing ways as possible. The true monsters now are the people left alive and that's a message that the godfather of zombies puts across in this direct to video release.
We're going to assume that the fact that there are two irish families with opposing views at war with each other isn't a comment on the troubles in Northern Ireland because if it is then it's a few years too late to have any real resonance and would be insultingly facile to the people affected by those troubles. The irish may well be offended anyway by the quality of the accents on show which are, at best, variable.
The scares, too, are also variable - and pretty rare at that. There are a couple of effective jump moments, but for the most part the zombies present such a minor threat to the severely well-armed living that there is no sense of fear let alone terror. Just how every single living person on the planet came into possession of seemingly unending supplies of firearms and ammunition is one mystery that the film doesn't clear up. Towards the end, though, the zombies get loose and start overwhelming the living. The bloody effects come into play and Romero shows that he hasn't lost his talent for filming the spilling of intestines all over the place. Here alone, the gore and death comes close to being effective, but since most of the people being killed are background people that we haven't met even that effect is muted.
Still, George A Romero is too old a hand at this to make a completely unentertaining film. At 89 minutes it doesn't hang around and there aren't too many wasted moments as the simple plot skips along pretty well. He supplies what you know you're going to get (zombies getting their brains blown out and eating entrails from still-screaming folks) in abundance, so whilst there's nothing new here at least it does what it says on the tin.
And the subtext about there being hope that the dead can be made to eat something other than the living being snatched away at the final moment? It's a direct 'homage' to the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and Romero's THE CRAZIES, the remake for which is out soon.Top
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