Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Are The Dead, In Fact, Dead?

Things aren't easy for George Romero and the Dead. With filmmakers like Zack Snyder, Edgar Wright , Danny Boyle and Robert Rodriguez making slick, sophisticated Grade-A Zed entertainments by the Blockbusterful, Romero's rather homemade looking Zombie films have had to rely on the old standbys of story and dialogue to get attention, and in recent films that's brought some decidedly mixed results.

For example, in Romero's last Dead outing, Land of the Dead, George moved out of the Zombie comfort zone of slow-moving, slower-thinking brain eaters, and added a thoughtful, gun-toting zombie leader to the mix. That part was new, and almost anything new in the Zombie genre is good.

Unfortunately, along the way, he tried to make a clumsy point about the haves and the have-nots, and the way money seems to protect the rich and powerful from times of crisis (It's as thuddingly obvious as that in the film). There are characters actually named Motown, Cholo, Chihuahua, Pretty Boy and Big Daddy in this film: note the racial sensitivity of most of these names. More: the bridge out of town was named "The Throat"; the character "Chihuahua" runs an underground Sin City with gambling, prostitution and drugs; Chihuahua is a little person (of course). All of this made me wonder where the witty, inspired George Romero of "Night of" and "Dawn of" had gone. The problems with "Land..." seemed to be harbingers of worse things to come, if this video is any indication. This is the trailer for the next George Romero "Dead" movie, "Diary of the Dead".

Watch for yourself: not one line in this trailer is original, not one idea fresh, not one shot new or interesting. It's filmed with a hand-held camera (much like the Cloverfield campaign) which was fresh when it was used in the first episodes of NYPD Blue in the early '90s. A return to his independent roots, it stars the usual Romero cast of unknown actors you'll never see again. My from-the-hip assessment of "Diary..." is that it may not even be a renter. See what you think:


Patti said...

I saw a trailer recently for this, and my first thought was, damnit, now it's a teenager movie, all those characters are kids. My hopes are low.

Kate said...

Saw The film at the Toronto Film Festival - it was really good, way better than Land of teh Dead and this clip. Really

Tom Dougherty said...

Thanks for the tip, Kate. I'm sure Patti's glad to hear that too.

Siamang said...

When his camcorder battery dies, does it come back to life too?

Tom Dougherty said...