Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull and senseless..., 4 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: Survival Of The Dead [DVD] (DVD)
For myself I think zombie films work best when they have a documentary, or at least a naturalistic, feel - which is why, of Romero's last several films, I preferred the more low-key Diary to the gaudier Land of the Dead. On a human level what I find dramatically interesting is watching people cope - or fail to cope - with extreme situations. If this is done realistically then some sort of social commentary is a natural by-product of the storytelling - as in the shopping mall setting of Dawn of the Dead. To me gore is only interesting if it arises out of plausible situations and involves characters who are (at least) tolerably believable.

Survival of the Dead offers none of these pleasures. Instead we have a bunch of below-cliche soldiers and a crack-shot geek (rescued from random rednecks in some wood somewhere) pitching up on Plum Island, 'off Delaware', where a boring feud has been dragging on forever between the two utterly implausible Irish families in cowboy hats who live there. Things drag on, people split up, shout loudly when searching for friends who have suddenly disappeared (so as to make sure any enemies or zombies hear them), & spray bullets around as if they're in unlimited supply. On the one hand people get shot repeatedly but struggle on to the point where I was expecting them to reveal they'd slipped on bullet-proof vests. On the other there's a bad Western movie gunfight at the end where people, despite being about ten feet apart, never seem to hit each other at all. And never, never run out of bullets.

Despite society collapsing people are uploading videos of themselves on the internet, which is still working, as is TV, complete with lame topical chat-shows. Electricity supplies seem to continue uninterrupted even 6 weeks after the crisis has begun. The soldiers go to the island with some notion of finding a liveable environment but the narrative is totally bereft of discussions or perceptions of survival, morality, resources, technology, fuel, medicine etc. Instead we get a thin opposition (one Irish clan keeps the dead chained up, still animate; the other shoots them in the head) passing itself off as a moral discourse, with never a discussion of practical matters. Forget the dead: what do the living have to eat on this modest island? A lesbian character was potentially interesting in the context of a grimly utilitarian debate about 'keeping up the population' but no such notion was essayed. Oddly, this (very attractive) woman is first shown, for no reason but voyeurism, masturbating in a jeep.

The whole film - which I felt consistently chose the wrong things to focus on at every turn - was like a boring, super-unimaginative inversion of the seeming happy end of Day of the Dead (where the survivors end up on a tropical island, and the film closes on a hopeful note). I actually found myself longing for a P.C. schematic set-up a la the rehash of Terry Nation's Survivors: I'd rather have seen a Muslim, a housewife, someone black, a racist etc thrown together & trying to get through.

I felt George Romero had got bored with his apocalyptic set-up, and allowed that sense of boredom to be played out in the characters, who spend almost no time thinking about why what has happened has happened, or what they might do about it, or what will happen generally.

The cgi gore looked cheap a lot of the time, but that would have mattered so much less if I had cared at all about the characters or been engaged by the situation. I've read a lot of criticism of the actors, but frankly if it had been stuffed with Oscar-winners they'd all have been stymied by the crummy script.

The dvd I bought comes with no extras whatsoever.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Mar 2011 08:41:45 GMT
I was bought this movie in a triple bill along with Day of the Dead, the remake by Steve Miner, and also Diary of the Dead, I hadn't seen any of them before although I liked the Romero movies from the 70's. The remake of Dawn of the Dead was one of my favourite Zombie movies of recent years so I was looking forward to this set. I was told that they all followed on from that movie... I was excited as I sat down to watch... Well I quite enjoyed the Day of the Dead, nothing to do with the Romero one of the same name, it was very full on and quite enjoyable, Diary wasn't too bad either, I liked the hand held camera tecnique... but Survival of the Dead... What movie was he trying to make, a western...? Avoid at all costs, I was completely bored, surely not what you expect from a Zombie movie.. Oh well, it was a gift!

Posted on 21 Apr 2011 14:53:53 BDT
Spot on, this movie is one of the worst I've seen. Romero is either lazy or can't be bothered anymore!
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John
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Location: London, London United Kingdom

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