Top positive review
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'You Tube the Dead'!
on 13 March 2008
I saw Diary of the Dead at the cinema and I have to say I am very impressed with the result. Whereas other more recent Zombie movies have gone for action-packed thrills(The Dawn of the Dead remake)and silly martial arts (Resident Evil 1-3), Director George A. Romero shows them all how its done. 'Diary' is pitched in the same vein as the recent Cloverfield movie, showing events unfold through the lense of a hand-held digital camera, showing the film's characters emoting to a largely unseen cameraman whilst trying to extricate themselves from danger and seek sanctuary.
I urge everyone with a passing interest in Zombie movies or in the work of George A. Romero to head out to the multi-plex and show support for this film, it needs your support. Mr Romero deliberately shot it on a low budget (only $5 million), and at the moment it is not experiencing a huge amount of success in its domestic market. In the US, after the Weinstein Company secured a deal to distribute the film (to much fanfare), they have buried it on only 47 screens, making it struggle to make a profit. It deserves to be seen and has a surprising amount of depth for a low-budget piece. It has a lot to say about the modern day nature of human beings becoming increasingly more voyeuristic, and disassociated from the true horrors which are taking place, by viewing and recording everything through the shifting focus of a video camera. "Just let me get that on film, thats looks great!".
Its at least as involving as Cloverfield and features some very inspiring moments. The opening of the film sees the director illustrating his chagrin at modern zombie movies' habit of showing zombies being able to run at full speed whilst displaying huge strength and agility. George is right! zombies are the dead, and dead things rot! He also has his key participants (as film students) making a low budget 'Mummy Movie', only for the increasingly insane student director to later on stage an actual reconstruction of this scene as one of his female friends is chased by an actual monster.
The only criticism to be levelled at this film would be that, in the final act of the picture George's characters (the surviving film students) become more allegories for what He wants to say as a director, instead of perhaps behaving in a more realistic way if, hypothetically speaking, this kind of apocalyptic event actually took place. Why for example do the survivors take no interest at all in fortifying the abandoned manor house compound in which they find themselves? With all the undead wandering around, keen for their warm flesh, why do they not bother to even close the front gate and lock the doors of the mansion??!! However, this is a minor quibble in an all-round engaging picture, and intelligent social commentary.
There is an excellent collection of documentaries on Disc 2; including a detailed 90 minute documentary revisiting the making of the Original Night of the Living Dead in all its low-budget glory. Also included are clippets of a George A.Romero Q & A from 2007, behind the scenes recordings of the guest speakers who read out news reports during the movie, and the usual deleted scenes. A worthwhile cinematic experience and essential DVD purchase. Excellent!