Sunday, 5 October 2008

Day of the Dead (2008)

I like zombie movies.

Big fan. Especially the great George Romero zombie movies, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. I'll leave out the original Day of the Dead (1985) and Land of the Dead because, well...they weren't very good you see.

I even liked the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. They made some changes to the formula, especially in how the zombies moved. In the past, all zombies in films were slow, lumbering creations. But they never stopped. That's what made them scary. Dawn of the Dead changed that by making the zombies fast. Now some will argue that 28 Days Later was the innovator here, but I'm gonna get to that film in a moment. So even though they made the zombies faster, they still made them scary. That's all that matters really.

You know, now would probably be a good time to re-visit the Zombie Rules. These are my rules for what makes a good zombie flick:

The Zombie Rules
  1. Zombies are the Undead. They are animated corpses who hunger for human flesh. What animates them? Pure evil? A virus? Electro-magnetic impulses? Who knows. But that is what a zombie is. The living dead. 28 Days Later, while a fantastic film at times, is NOT a zombie film. Those people are still alive. The virus makes them crazy and blood-thirsty, but it doesn't kill them. Eventually they die of starvation when they don't get enough to eat, but that's it. They aren't zombies.
  2. To kill a zombie you have to destroy their brain. Whatever it is that is animating these corpses is controlled in the brain somehow. You can chop off their arms, shoot them in the chest, or piss in their face. That's ain't gonna stop them. The only thing that is gonna stop them is a well placed bullet, arrow, crowbar or knitting needle to the brain. That's it! If they can be killed (?!?) any other way, then they ain't zombies.
  3. A zombie can be slow and lumbering or it can be just as fast as the body of it's previous owner. I really don't care. Just as long as they are scary and they crave human flesh. What a zombie CANNOT have is super-human strength or speed. Why would a zombie be super-strong? I've seen some zombie films in which the zombies can easily rip the head off of a human. Do you know how hard it is to rip somebody's head off? I've had some experience with this and it ain't easy. If your zombie is super-strong or super-fast, then it probably ain't a zombie.

There are others, but those are the main rules. I watched the remake, and I hesitate to call it a remake, of Day of the Dead over the weekend and it clearly broke rule #3 and came real close to breaking rule #1. I can't be sure because the film was so poorly made that it was hard to determine if the people died prior to becoming zombies. They certainly were infected with the virus while they were still alive and that is a first as far as I know in a zombie flick. And I didn't like it. No sir, not one bit.

But the film broke the shit out of rule #3. The zombies were incredibly fast and strong. One zombie was even able to crawl along the walls and the ceiling for a while. I didn't realize that gravity could be nullified with a small dose of zombie virus.

What does this all have to do with this movie? Not a lot, to be truthful. The film only barely honored the original film. There was a military conspiracy, an underground bunker and a "friendly" zombie, but that's about it. Well there was also the bad acting, bad editing and bad direction that was common to both films. That's something, I guess.

And you know, even with the bad acting and the breaking of the Zombie Rules, I could have had a lot of fun with this film. But it was just so lifeless (get it?) and non-scary that instead it was just an incredible waste of time. They could have easily made this film either fun or scary, but they just didn't bring it.

Stay away from this piece of junk. It rots. Get it?