Survival of the Dead

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There are some people who hold on too dearly to those they love, even in death, but what happens when death no longer holds her sway and the dead begin to rise? This is the problem facing Seamus Muldoon, who rounds up the zombie population of Plum Island in an attempt to save those beyond saving, but not everyone agrees with his plan and things are about to get messy on their tiny little island. The sixth and last of Romero’s Dead series.

The modern zombie considers Romero a kind of uncle; after all he gave us a face for the media. I mean before that we were just slaves to one Voodoo loser or another and then bam, suddenly people feared us, not our useless masters but us. We were suddenly a force to be reckoned with, a group capable of drowning the world in an endless supply of walking corpses. Here’s the thing though, just like an uncle who’s been telling the same joke over and over again, Romero has gotten a little old by this point and lost his ability to deliver a great punch line.

Our zombie film starts off on Plum Island during the initial outbreak, right as the world is just beginning to fall apart. Two families live on this island, the Muldoons and the O’Flynns. The O’Flynns want to completely rid the island of the infected, shooting any zombie they find on the island, while the Muldoons believe their dead loved ones should be allowed to continue existing, albeit behind cages until they can be trained to eat something besides human flesh. This leads to an altercation between the families that ends with the head of the O’Flynn family being exiled off the island by the Muldoon’s higher numbers. This is when we get to meet our second group of intrepid survivors; a National Guard unit that abandoned their post when it became clear that their commanders didn’t have the slightest clue what to do. This is actually the same unit that is seen robbing the documentary film crew in Diary of the Dead. As they escape the decaying world around them, preying on those less prepared for an apocalypse, they run into the exiled Patrick O’Flynn, who himself has turned to robbing innocents he manages to lure in with promises of a zombie free island. After a failed attempt to do as much to the AWOL military unit as they are able to do to them, Patrick shows them how to get to the island in hopes of killing the man who exiled him from his home, Seamus Muldoon. As chaos builds on the small island and two rivals prepare for the last face off only one thing is certain, in a world overrun with the dead, zombies aren’t the biggest threat to the continued existence of mankind…the real threat is mankind itself.

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{Not the friendliest looking group}

I feel almost like an ungrateful child, telling his father he doesn’t need him anymore saying this, but here it is: Romero needs to move on from zombies. I know, I know, what business do I have telling the father of the modern zombie film that the genre he nearly created himself has moved past him to something he’s no longer fit to remain a part of. I’m sorry but the guy’s zombie films are getting old and every time he tries to do something different he just really does more of the same. I’d love for him to step outside his comfort zone as he did with such great movies like Monkey Shines (1988) and Bruiser (2000). I’m not saying the man is done by a long shot, I’m just saying that his zombie career is over and the sooner he realizes this, the better.

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{It’s time to shamble on Mr. Romero}

Okay, it’s not like this movie is terrible, it’s just not anything special either. The story is a rehash of his older material with a few new twists thrown in. I can appreciate that he thought he was doing something more, but it’s just more of the same. I honestly felt a little bored at times, like the story was dragging. The zombies take too much of a backseat for my taste. It’s more about the same character types we’ve seen over and over again in zombie movies. You know, the caring sensitive type, the badass who has a change of heart by the end of the film, and the old timer who refuses to accept that this is no longer his world. They’re all here and waiting for you. At least I can say they were played by some fairly decent actors.

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{There’s also the zombified children character type, that’s normal right}

I think my biggest disappointment is in the effects. Most of the gore is bad CGI and it was really disheartening to see. There were some kills that definitely deserve “Zombie Kill of the Week” (my favorite being the old fire extinguisher in the mouth trick), but each and every time the CGI used was awful and it ended up completely killing the effect. The last stand at the end gets a bit better as far as the gore goes, but it almost feels like too little too late.

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{Bad CGI}

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{Awful CGI}

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{For fuck’s sake that just looks terrible}

In the end, you could do worse than Survival of the Dead, and if you’re looking for a half decent zombie flick than this one will definitely fit the bill, but otherwise, you’re not missing much if you choose to look elsewhere.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, The Crazies)

Starring: Alan Van Sprang (Diary of the Dead, Shutter), Kenneth Welsh (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Four Brothers), and Kathleen Munroe (Let Him Be, Cutting for Stone)

Released By: Blank of the Dead Productions and Magnolia Pictures

Release Year: 2009

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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