Texas Frightmare Weekend Film Festival - Night Two -
Thursday April 29, 2010. Dallas, TX -
Evan ODell

Survival of the Dead (2009) Written and directed by George A. Romero. Starring Alan Van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh, Kathleen Munroe, Devon Bostick, and Richard Fitzpatrick.

I can’t say whether I was excited or not to see this. I mean I know its George Romero, the Granddaddy of flesh eating zombies. The initial buzz I’d heard had been all the same, varying degrees of bad. After my lukewarm reception to both Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead, I was trepidatious at best.

When the film started with a disappointing voice over, I was even more skeptical. Luckily, that abated rather quickly. As the movie played on, I found I was enjoying it more than Diary or Land for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, I still had problems with it, and I’m going to address those, but for the most part I did feel after it was over that it may have been better than the two Dead films which preceded it…

- NIGHT TWO Continued: 2001 Maniacs, Field of Screams

What I liked about the film were the characters. I had my problems seeing John Lequizamo and Dennis Hopper in Land of the Dead because I felt they were acting like themselves and that kind of pulled me out of the story. I didn't feel that as much here. Romero continued on his theme of people being capable of committing far worse atrocities than the zombies who act solely out of instinct to good effect. He tried to tie that into a theme of pointless war and stupid political partisanship with debatable results.

My third biggest problem with the movie was the nature of the conflict between O’Flynn and Muldoon. O’Flynn said firing at the zombies was just putting the dead to rest. Muldoon’s interpretation of the Bible meant that he tried to preserve the zombies lives in the chance that they may eventually revert. Though he started killing them willy-nilly before long. I know it’s just an extension of where Romero went in Land of the Dead when Simon Baker’s character stops her from using the armaments of Dead Reckoning on the zombies crossing the bridge when he said, “No, they’re just looking for a place to go. Same as us.” Which is my single greatest problem with Land of the Dead as it’s only been a minute since they completely annihilated the zombies eating the inhabitants trying to escape the city. It’s established at one point that these two old men, O’Flynn and Muldoon, have been fighting since grade school and the nature of the argument no longer matters, since they’d still be at each other’s throats. So why not something else…

Romero also continued on the thread of zombies with evolving intelligence. Which gave me my second most problem with the movie. A zombie rides a horse. That to me was pretty stupid. I don’t care how much the beast is affectionate towards you in life, I can’t believe that the animal would feel the same kinship to you after death. You would no longer smell anything like your old self. My belief is the animal would react towards you like the dogs in Terminator.

But my sole greatest problem with the movie, the one for which I have a hard time forgiving the film, was a stupid throw away joke. The same kind that would have been at home in a Three Stooges short or a Tom & Jerry cartoon, or even a Star Wars prequel. That bit was one in which a lobbed grenade brings down a perfect cut out of a wall leaving three men completely unharmed on the other side except for blown out hair and black face. That didn’t belong in a Romero zombie movie, especially since Romero’s zombie movies often pride themselves on spectacular gore.

The story catches up with the “Sarge” (Alan Van Sprang) from Diary of the Dead and his band who robbed the ersatz documentarians in that film. When they meet up with a boy (Devon Bostick), he tells them of an online video by a Captain Courageous (Patrick O’Flynn) inviting people to an island off the East coast. The others are skeptical, but have stopped holding out hope and need something to believe in. Eventually, they make their way to the island where Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) runs things with an iron fist.


Visit the Texas Frightmare website




Horrorfind Banner Exchange