Survival of the Dead (2009)
a.k.a. George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead
Oh, George, hang it up. Please.
Four National Guardsmen who escape from their fellow soldiers, who have all turned into the Living Dead, descend on "Plum Island," and island (duh) occupying by two feuding families, the Hatfields and the McCoys— no, sorry, wait, make that the O'Flynns and the Muldoons.
The O'Flynns are determined to wipe out the zombies on the island, while the Muldoons
are idiots are keeping zombies "alive" until a "cure" is found for zombieism. In the meantime, the Muldoons attempt to rehabilitate the zombies by trying to turn them on to the taste of flesh that isn't human.
All this has to do with Romero's vision of zombie evolution, harkening back to the zombie on the roof at the end of the original Dawn of the Dead (in which the zombies keep coming back to the shopping mall because, it's speculated, the mall was important to them in life), who takes Ken Foree's rifle looks at it with a glint of recognition, suggesting that zombies may be capable of using tools.
Well, of course they're capable; just look at the Head Zombie in the original Night of the Living Dead, who uses a rock to smash the window of Barbara and Johnny's car.
But SOTD takes the idea further, with zombie postal carriers and zombie lumberjacks going through the motions of their previous lives. One zombie even rides a horse (and later tries to eat the horse).
In the end, there's little in SOTD that hasn't been done before, and done better, even by Romero himself. You want zombies eating something besides humans? More than forty years ago, Romero's own Night of the Living Dead showed zombies (one zombie in particular, Marilyn Eastman, who also played Helen Cooper) with a taste for bugs that live on trees. You want zombies in a church? Watch the immensely more entertaining ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction (2009). You want a guy who can't bring himself to kill his zombified wife? See the pilot episode of "The Walking Dead." You want a human so traumatized (or stupid) that he or she deludes him- or herself into believing a zombified loved one will not eat him/her, and then promptly gets eaten by said zombified loved one? Watch virtually any other zombie movie.
Anyway, SOTD goes on... and on and on, with tons of talk, talk, talk, until you're ready to volunteer to become a zombie yourself just to put a little action into this deadly dull flick. The zombies do attack now and again, but these are some of the un-scariest, most un-menacing zombies ever, who, if they had any sense of self-awareness, would be embarrassed by their own patheity.
Eventually, the zombies eat most of the O'Flynns. Almost everybody else who hasn't been eaten by zombies gets killed in a final gunfight between the remaining members of the feuding clans.
There are three survivors: National Guard sergeant Crockett (Alan Van Sprang, who was also in Land of the Dead, and, more memorably, was the leader of the bad soldiers who steal the kids' supplies in Diary of the Dead), "Boy" (Devon Bostick) and "Tomboy" (Athena Karkanis). They escape the island on a ferry, leaving the zombies to eat that poor horse we mentioned earlier, and the patriarchs of the feuding families, now zombies themselves, to try to finish each other off with empty guns.
Let's see, anything else...? Oh, yeah: In this one, you can turn into a zombie if you ingest the blood of a zombie... which always seemed like common sense to us, but for some reason this movie makes a big deal of that little factoid.
Did we mention the groan-inducing CGI effects? Where is Tom Savini when you need him?
Utterly painful, this one is. Really, George, hang it up, and be content with what you've done, before you completely ruin a great legacy of zombie movies. And if you have to make another Living Dead movie, do us all a favor and start watching "The Walking Dead" for inspiration.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Day of the Dead (1985)
Land of the Dead (2005) We need a spoiler!
Diary of the Dead (2007) We need a spoiler!
NO COMMENTS? If you cannot see comments (or a comment form) above, your ad blocker is likely to blame. Please DISABLE all ad-blocking on your browser when you visit Amuse Yourself! or white-list the amuseyourself.com domain. Amuse Yourself! DOES NOT TRACK your activity on the Web — we only want you to be able to interact with us! Thanks for your understanding and cooperation — and if you have any questions or concerns, contact JR directly at amuseyourself.com.