Day of the Dead

Today we have another entry into the overflowing category of “unnecessary remake type things.” Now, I can call this 2008 edition of Day of the Dead directed by Steve Miner a “remake,” completely, as a good number of things have been changed. Basically, it’s an origin story of sorts for a zombie outbreak, using the same location and characters as the original Romero version.

This flick will be heading straight to DVD on April 8th and stars Mena Suvari and Nick Cannon. Great cast, right? Ving Rhames is also in the movie for a few minutes in an underhanded trick of somehow trying to convince you this is related to Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead. It’s not. Nor is it close in quality.

Day of the Dead follows a flu-like outbreak in a small Colorado town. Those who are not naturally immune to the new virus quickly degenerate into super-fast zombies who, like tradition, can only die from having the head destroyed. Our small group of survivors consists of a few National Guardsmen (and women!) and a few straggler survivors, most of whom are related. Soon the group has found the the origins of the virus’ and the results will terrify you! If you’re terrified by boring and predictable things.

AnnaLynne McCord (Nip/Tuck) is also in the film and she’s got a hot body. I needed to throw that in there. Production wise the movie is a bit surprising. I expected a true low budget pile, but filming in Bulgaria must have freed up some dollars. There are lots of ridiculous gun fights, a huge number of extras, lots of equipment and gore. As a straight to DVD movie or Sci-Fi Channel quality flick, its about as good as you’re like to find. Take that as you will.

The film over relies on CGI to fill in head explosions and blood, which to me was very obvious and distracting. I always thought practical effects were cheaper – and I know they always look better. But special effects wise it was ok.

The worst part of the movie is what they did to the zombies. Sweet lord. These are without a doubt the fastest zombies on film. One of them jumped like 16 feet. Another one climbed on the ceiling like he was Spider-Man or something. Pretty ridiculous and not cool with me or, really, anyone in the audience.

I was able to speak with writer Jeffrey Reddick and it was very interesting to hear the screenwriters perspective. He constantly referred to early drafts and his reluctance to take on a remake project. Much of what was on screen that, to put it bluntly, sucked, wasn’t his fault, he said. Which is to be expected but he indicated that in his drafts there were no super zombies that could run at super high speed or climb walls and that many of these choices were taken out of his hands. I believe him. Don’t blame the writer!

So, should you watch this? Sure, if you’re a zombie fan. Its slightly above average zombie fare, but I can’t recommend purchasing it or anything. Not bad, but definitely not great.

Grade: C+


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