Ok...before I begin my take on Mr. George A. Romero's latest entry into his "of the Dead" films....I have to include my new theory on what is really going on here.
George A. Romero is dead. I am convinced that he died some years ago and he was brought back by voodoo priests as a zombie for monetary reasons. My theory is only validated by the slew of insufferable films that he has released in the last decade. Only a zombie could write and direct these films...because anyone with a teaspoon amount of brain activity surely couldn't come up with this shit. Seriously. I'm not trying to be mean.
Survival of the Dead opens on a small island in the middle of no where. Apparently, we pick up right where we left off on the winner that Diary of the Dead was. We are introduced to two rival families who have secluded themselves to each half of the island. They are also big fans of the old West...because they dress like cowboys and ranchers and have big guns. Ok....the premise isn't looking too bad. Zombies in the "old West"...that might be cool...right? Well...in someone else's hands....YES...that would be cool. So cool that I would've paid to see this in the theater. Unfortunately, the man behind the lens is Mr. Romero. So, we're left with alot of potential. Many scenes that could work in some other movie one day. But here...they are just reduced to a hollow stream of thought that someone had..but, never followed through with. All of a sudden we are brought back the the world of Diary of the Dead...with a couple of the characters from that film showing up for continuity. Uugghhh...
So, at this point I stopped my DVR and went out to grab myself a beer...as some kind of crutch in which to watch the rest of this atrocity. However, when I came back...the last channel that I happened to be on before I started watching Survival of the Dead was idle on Showtime where they happen to be showing a film called Adventureland. This piqued my interest because of the cast. Jesse Eisenberg from the immensely superior film, Zombieland was in this. And it was called Adventureland....you know, kinda like Zombieland. So, I started watching this while sipping down my Miller High Life. Bill Hader is an exceptionally funny muthafucka. Kristen Stewart actually surprised me in this. I'm so used to her mellow-dramatic emotionally vapid Bella from the Twilight series that she showed me glimpses of what she might be capable of as an actress. Plus...she gave me a semi while watching this film.
The film centers around a coming of age story of love utilizing Eisenberg's character as a fresh-out-of-high school teenager who lands a summer job at a local "Rocky Point"-style amusement park. He meets Stewart and the two embark on a very innocent relationship that cuts to the core of one self and allows you to remember those summers long past of innocent love. The film is fuckin' funny, too. Funnier than last summer's The Hangover, because it has heart. I got so wrapped up watching this film that I totally forgot about Romero's idiotic love memo to the undead. So, I chuckled, cried, and felt all around good watching Adventureland...then, I started playing Survival of the Dead once again.
Before I continue...I'd like to note one aspect that might have made Survival atleast watchable....the special FX.
It's been mentioned in many interviews with Romero that he enjoys utilizing the simple FX tones in his zombie movies. The blueish/purple blush and the opaque contact lenses. This is what makes a zombie a zombie according to him. Ok, well...that shit might've worked in the sixties...but, this is 20GODDAMN10, brother...and you could atleast spend a little coin on making the zombies look fuckin' cool for Jesus H. Christ's sake!
I have two comparisons that follow. One is a still taken from Survival of the Dead...a Hollywood movie with the "father" of the genre spearheading the affair. And the other still is taken from a preview of a TV show premiering this fall on the AMC network from a director who is better known for directing movies like The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption.
Anyway....I watched the finale of Survival of the Dead...and kind of laughed at the last screen shot of two zombies duking it out old West style. I must hate myself. I must really fucking loathe myself for knowingly trying to endure a film from the same person that gave us Diary of the Dead. I know I said that I was done with Romero last time around...but, then I started reading the many praises for this film. This "return to true form" gave me hope that maybe somewhere in his ancient skull....exists one more really good zombie story to tell. Fuck no! If you see this movie coming your way. Run. Run as fast as you fuckin' can....because the true horror is not the zombies that inheret life after death....but, the Romero films being made these days by an actual zombie of a master that once was. You've been warned.
Survival of the Dead: 1 out of 10 for female masturbation scene.