Another entertainment offering I’ll be looking forward to is Survival Of The Dead, the next instalment of George A. Romero’s zombie franchise. There are a lot of zombie films doing the rounds at the moment bit in my opinion Romero always offers something a bit different, lacing his contributions to the genre with social commentary, wickedly inventive humour and characters you feel fully engaged with.
I’d like to see this one in the cinema as it’s a big (relatively) budget affair but I don’t expect it to screen in my local theatre so I’ll probably have to wait for the DVD. Unless it happens to be on general release during one of my infrequent mainland outings.
That said, I’ve only seen it’s most recent predecessors Land Of The Dead and Diary Of The Dead on DVD and still enjoyed them immensely. Though on looking round the interweb today for more info on Survival, I find myself wondering if I’ve seen different versions of those two movies to almost everyone else. Everywhere I turn I find comments and reviews that slam Land and Diary as awful and paint Romero as destroying the genre he created. Other remarks suggest that these later movies contradict the rules established in the first three films (Night, Dawn and Day). And many of the remarks make me think that those making them haven’t really got a clue what they are talking about – especially when the hold the remake of Dawn up as being a better example the genre than either Land or Diary. Mmm, IMO the Dawn remake is an excellent movie but it focuses on the biggest contradiction of all in zombie lore, that of the running zombie.
Further just about all the detractors of Land and Diary also complain that they don’t contain enough action and gore. They also say they are too focused on characters, on humanising the zombies through empathy, on attacking the Bush administration in Land and passing other comments on the nature of our behaviour towards each other. Which clinches it for me – the people making these arguments definitely don’t know what they are talking about.
Neither Night, Dawn or Day are action movies and are all very much of their time when it comes to their gore content. They are all dramas with a strong emphasis on character and social comment set against a backdrop of graphic horror and occasional black humour. Each film introduces an increasing amount of empathy toward the zombies who, despite steadily decomposing, gradually evolve from the shambling monsters of Night, through the instinctive memory that leads them all to the Mall in Dawn, into the saluting, pistol-totting Bub in Day who, although “trained” to an extent, seems to know both how to salute a man in uniform and which is the business end of a gun. Land very much continues Romero’s own evolutionary process in that regard with the introduction of Big Daddy who not only thinks but is able to communicate through a rudimentary vocabulary of grunts and gestures.
As for Diary, it was intended as a reboot of the Dead 🙄 and I think it does a very good job of doing just that. It takes the story back to the beginning, updates it and shows how that story would be told with the technology of today – hand-held cameras, internet posts, etc. It’s not your typical zombie film but then Romero is not a zombie film-maker, he is simply a film-maker and a damn fine one at that.
If you want to read what other folk have to say about Survival either Google it or try the following links: