Sunday, May 30, 2010

Survival of the Dead

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Ghouls Wreak Havoc on Remote Island in Latest Romero Zombie Flick

The legendary George Andrew Romero is still making monster movies some forty-plus years after his unforgettable directorial debut with Night of the Living Dead (1968). While none of his subsequent pictures has ever measured up to that groundbreaking, black & white classic, he has continued to crank out a variety of micro-budgeted horror flicks, although always remaining best known for the “Dead” franchise, with this latest offering being the sixth in the grisly series.

This installment will not disappoint diehard Romero fans who know what to expect of a campy production from the B-movie maven. Thus, the garishly videotaped adventure features cheesy makeup and cheap trick photography that leaves a lot to be desired, considering the state-of-the-art effects generally employed by the genre nowadays.

Nonetheless, Survival of the Dead’s technical failings are more than offset by its novel screenplay and by decent acting jobs turned in by a capable cast. The story is set on Plum Island, a remote isle off the coast of Delaware where, you guessed it, a horde of man-eating ghouls are causing major mayhem. The action unfolds just after the conclusion of Diary of the Dead, which means in a post-apocalyptic world where zombies now outnumber the living.

However, that dire predicament does nothing to entice the two warring clans inhabiting Plum Island to put aside their difference for the sake of survival. For generations, the O’Flynns and Muldoons, presided over by patriarchs Patrick (Kenneth Welsh) and Shamus (Richard Fitzpatrick), respectively, have been locked in a mortal feud on the order of the legendary Hatfields and McCoys.

So, we find the families fighting each other as much as the demons, especially since they disagree about how to deal with the plague. The Muldoons are inclined to capture and quarantined the zombies with the hope of finding a cure, while the O’Flynns approach is to kill any of the monsters they see on sight. True to form, Romero has injected his high attrition-rate splatterflick with just enough social commentary and gallows humor to elevate the tale above your typically senseless gore fest.

A more cerebral means of cinematically satiating one’s wanton bloodlust craving!

Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated R for violence, gore, profanity and brief sexuality.
Running time: 90 Minutes
Distributor: Magnet Releasing

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