Monday, March 8, 2010


You may notice that I have never really said an awful word about Twilight, a series I’m sure to despise. Part of is that I give minor endorsement to any piece of writing that gets young people reading. More importantly, I’ve never actually watched one of the films. One day I will, preferably with a friend and refrigerator full of beer. I already anticipate taking sips every time the pretty dude storms off, based on this excellent mashup of of Twilight and Buffy. I imagine being very drunk.
This brings me to 2006’s Day of the Dead, a film I’d avoided discussing with the same amount of persistance as that I’d used to avoid actually seeing. With Instant Watch burning and my mind needing some numbing following the density of Antichrist , the time had come.

Quick Plot: A small, often referred to as ‘shithole’ town in Colorado gets hit by a zombie virus and the army fails to maintain order. That’s enough, right?
See, after I watched this movie, I fell asleep and had an epically detailed dream about a fast-paced zombie invasion. Strange thing was, I woke up being able to fully recap every plot turn as I and some unknown REM extras dodged the leaping undead through rainy streets, empty schools, and strangely abandoned mansions with secret passageways at every turn. It was genuinely exciting.
And not written by screenwriter Jeffrey Riddick. 
Day of the Dead received some pretty intense hatred, particularly from diehard fans of Romero’s 1988 original. While I have some serious issues with what I believe is Romero’s weakest in the series (how much shouting can one audience member sit through before we start to root for Captain Rhodes?), I can also admit that as a remake, this 2008 version is kind of ridiculous and somewhat indicative of what so many genre fans hate about the trend. Tom Savini hit a career high with the flaky rotting corpses shambling around in ’88 while the true ‘horror’ of the film’s theme lied more in how humans reacted than the carnivorous monsters themselves. In this version, there’s no time for anything but PCP high CGI animated hurdle jumpers chomping their way through hohum characters we don’t even hate enough to want dead.

Well, there is Nick Cannon, giving one of the worst performances this side of straight-to-DVD hell. Not to mention the new version of Dr. ‘Frankentsein’ Logan, now played as a Grey’s Anatomy reject with bland smarm. Mena Suvari’s laughable army corporal makes Linda Cardellini look like Meryl Streep, but she points her face in the right direction for what I assume was a 90% green screen shot filming process so for that she can have a cupcake. 

As hard as I’m being on Day of the Dead, I didn’t hate it nearly as much as I expected to. Don’t get me wrong: it’s bad. We’re talking cliched to the extreme, the kind of film that features the roomiest heating vents since Demonic Toys and a zooming-in-on-the-virus shot that looks worse than the 3D ride into hell in the sixth Nightmare On Elm St. The zombies do everything from crawl up walls to leap out of fifth floor windows without so much as a twisted ankle, something sure to miff most moviegoers who know a thing or two about biology. Much like the far more enjoyable Dawn of the Dead remake, all the thrills are made in the name of quick adrenaline rushes that go away as soon as they pass. 

Also, much like the far more enjoyable Dawn of the Dead remake, Ving Rhames receives a paycheck.
High Points
In no way was I sold on Suvari’s military cred, but I appreciate the attempt to make a female a worthy leader. Annalyne McCord’s surprisingly aggressive (and not surprisingly annoying) girlfriend also brings a nice change from the typical screaming teenager by actually taking initiative when it comes to defense.

Low Points
I have no problem with filmmakers reinventing the undead, but can they at least do so by providing the zombies with some center of gravity? I don’t know if I was watching acrobats or arachnids, but they certainly weren’t in any way once human beings.
If I allowed one of my cats to play with my Macbook, I’m fairly certain that either Joplin or Mookie--neither of whom is in any way an intelligent feline--would create better looking CGI effects than what was shown onscreen in this movie
Lessons Learned
Female corporals look ever so adorable with earrings

White people always want to split up
Fat men fall down a lot
If and when the zompacalypse hits, head to the nearest vegetarian restaurant. Even if it’s already invaded, you’ll be safe.
Your girlfriend may be slightly offended if you offer her money in exchange for sex
Mysterious Zen Question 
If zombies can and do occasionally eat their own body parts, how can they still exist in one piece?

As far as Instant Watch zombie flicks go, you could, it pains me to say, do far worse. I’m not really recommending this film, but if you’re in the mood for a modern, empty headed horror, it’s not the worst thing you could do to yourself. Maybe because my expectations were lowered to the extreme and I was only streaming the film, it just didn’t offend me in the same way as something like It’s Alive ’09. The effects are atrocious and the acting dull. Most of the action is obvious and the survivors easier to predict than the Best Supporting Actor category in this Oscar telecast. But eh. It’s there. Watch it once if you’re curious or need a mind nap, or stay away if you want to stay happy and content. Just don’t complain until you give it a chance.
And then complain all you want.


  1. This sounds pretty good, right?

    And that cover art is awesome!

  2. I was perfectly, and I remain completely content, knowing that I have no need to ever watch this. Thanks for taking one for the team Emily.

  3. I was told not to watch this movie, because it was so bad. I should have taken the warning.

  4. Diehard fans of the original, turn back..turn back before it's too late (done in my stretched out Goblin King voice overlooking the Labyrinth, of course).

    Casual fans? Pop it on when vacuuming, alphabetizing your DVDs, or doing any other activity that does not require more than 45% of your attention to be set onscreen.

    Someone who's never seen Romero's original or doesn't despise modern CGI-high zombies: maybe. The film is crud, but it moves fast and considering some of the other direct-to-DVD undead offerings it could, it kind of pains me to say, be worse. My favorite line comes when Nick Canon asks Mena Suvari why Bud (not Bub), the former soldier turned zombie, doesn't try to eat them. Answer:
    MS: He's a vegetarian.
    NC: That's it?
    MS: You've got a better explanation?

    Lazy as hell but eh. GIve me that before you make me watch reruns of 2 1/2 Men.

  5. I haven't seen this but just the fact that they have "Bud" as a character makes me want to vomit.

  6. As long as you vomit up vegetables.

  7. i didn't make it through this one

  8. You didn't miss much. Except for the giant Bollywood dance number complete with dwarves and Sylvester Stallone, but that's sooooo overdone nowadays.