Friday, May 14, 2010

Survival of the Dead

Survival of the Dead occurs immediately following Diary of the Dead. It follows Sarge Rocket (the same military man who stole from the group in Diary) as he and his three friends as they try to survive the zombie apocalypse. In a chance meeting with a young boy named DJ, they are led to Plum Island off the coast of Delaware where two rivaling Irish families have different ways of dealing with the undead menace. The O'Flynn’s simply kill the zombies. The Muldoon's want to keep the dead with them and believe that there might be a cure for their affliction or they can eventually coexist in peace. These are opinions these families are willing to kill over. Will they resolve their difference before the zombies will overrun them?

The film overall was pretty good. There were some moments of fantastic cheesiness that seem straight out of Looney Toons. It gave a lightness to a typically dark and dreary genre. All the conventions of the zombie movie are there: the person who stupidly thinks that their zombie relative recognizes them and gets bitten, the person who's health deteriorates throughout the movie because of infection, the hero tough guy, the snarky techie guy, etc. A new aspect of this film is the setting of the island and the crazy fighting families. The setting of the film is absolutely beautiful, which provides counterpoint for the blood, gore, and violence of the zombie apocalypse.

One of the things in the film that I liked was the evolution of the able bodied zombie. Some people don't like this concept, but it's even seen in the original Night of the Living Dead when a zombie picks up a rock to smash in the window of Barbara's car. The feuding families were interesting. Shamus Muldoon was a great villain, complete with creepy religious reasons keeping his dead, zombified relatives chained up around the island. Religious fanaticism is generally left by the wayside during times like this, but Shamus was just crazy enough to hold on to these ideals. Plus, he killed or attempted to kill everyone on the island that wasn't a part of his family. In a monster movie, he's the example of what a real human monster is. I really loved to hate him. As always, political subtext can be seen in the film. Especially with the families that fight, even beyond the grave, when the reason for the fight is long forgotten.

There were a few things that I felt were lacking. I had a problem with the reasoning behind the Muldoon's. He wanted to teach them to eat other things and keep them alive until a cure is found. But, if a dead person is "cured," they're still going to be dead. Killing them is the only logical choice I can see. And, even if zombies could be taught to eat animals, they would still go after humans as well. One thing that really bothered me about the movie was how many bullets the characters wasted on humans instead of zombies. I wanted to scream, "You share a common enemy! Stop shooting at each other!" The characters were generally fairly flat and stereotypical, who didn't really change throughout the course of film.

This film was generally entertaining and kept my attention throughout. There were some flaws, but I still enjoyed the film. I would definitely see it again. I hope this film so well so we can see more from George a. Romero.

My rating: 8/10 fishmuffins

Tomorrow: the Q & A with George A. Romero and the party!

1 comment:

Sullivan McPig said...

Haven't seen this one yet. Will go look for it.