Sunday, August 29, 2010

Survival of the Dead

I was planning on going to see Scott Pilgrim this weekend after my wife got home from work, as the only showings were apparently after 11, which would make it easy to go to. Unfortunately, the theaters have bed bugs so I decided to stay in and catch a flick in my dvd pile instead. My choice? Survival of the Dead, by George A. Romero.

In this latest installment of the Dead series, we follow an AWOL team of National Guard members, several of whom were last seen in Diary of the Dead robbing the protagonists of that film. You even get a video recap of it. They, like anybody else in the world of the dead, are just looking to find a place to get away from everyone and have a place of their own they can survive the end of the world. The Colonel and his squad find Plum Island, where according to one of the inhabitants, they can live in peace. Turns out, that's a bold-faced lie as said inhabitant is part of a feud between families and just looking for someone to back his attempt at insurrection. Mayhem ensues.

So, how does the newest installment hold up in a series that is, what, about 40 years old? Pretty well. You can stick this movie into several places along the timeline without trouble. At this point, though, the movies are feeling less like epics about the end of the world and the human condition and more like little vignettes that combine ideas from the main series in a different part of the world. The story is a little weak but the actors do a good job with the material and we get several sympathetic characters and several batshit insane ones. The gore is plentiful though some of the CGI shots are rather sketchy. All in all a solid movie, though it does pale compared to the main four (Night, Dawn, Day & Land). With Diary and Survival, we get a new, lower budget series that is more interconnected than the others, with characters intersecting at parts of each others' stories and then going on to tell their own. Romero says he has several more planned if the sales on this one do well and I'm keen to see them after this. Judging by the empty racks at Best Buy, it's doing well the first week it was out, forcing me to go to Wally World instead to get my copy.

I will admit that I would like to see Romero diversify a bit more, as I am a huge fan of Bruiser and enjoy his non-zombie works quite a bit. Still, I'll take what I can get from one of our masters of horror who keeps putting out quality films, even if he isn't getting the budgets that he used to.

Check it out.

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