Survival of the Dead

Dir: George Romero
Star: Alan van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh, Kathleen Munroe, Devon Bostick

This spins off slightly from its predecessor, Diary, following the soldiers who met and robbed the film-makers there. Under Sergeant Crockett (van Sprang), they make for Plum island, located off the coast of New England, where they've heard a new start can be made. That's not quite the reality: turns out the video was made by Patick O'Flynn (Welsh), who was thrown off the island after a philosophical dispute with a rival clan there, the Muldoons. O'Flynn wanted to exterminate all zombies; while Muldoon felt that was a mortal sin, and they should be retrained to eat other flesh than human. O'Flynn takes Crockett and his soldiers back to the island, with the aim of finishing his feud, and reuniting with his daughter Janet (Munroe), who has stayed there. Needless to say, from that point on, things don't go exactly as anyone has hoped.

Romero continues to find interesting variations on the theme that he basically started, more than 40 years ago. This time, it's melding zombies in to the Western feud genre, with the two families here obviously inspired by the Hatfields and McCoys, and sprinkling in a hint of religious overtones as well. The horror community generally didn't take kindly to this (and that's putting it mildly), but I'd rather see something that tries a new approach, rather than just wheeling out things we've seen all too often before, even if the results aren't always successful. Romero doesn't seem too interested in the zeds these days: I think he has realized that slow zombies really don't post much of a threat to the able-bodied. However, there are still some amusing kills - apparently, if you stuff a fire extinguisher in someone's mouth and let if off, their eyes pop out on stalks. Who knew? Still, this is less successful as a horror movie than a twisted Western, and your reaction may well depend on how much you care about that: very little, in my case.

[September 2011]

Survival is such a...vague word...
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