There has been a resurgent fascination for zombies in popular culture. This is not only apparent in literature but also in such popular cultural forms as comicbooks as well as in movies. I’ll be reviewing different zombie-related movies for my next series of reviews.
First up is Day of The Dead.
Hollywood is so devoid of imagination right now that when zombies became popular again, instead of thinking of new stories to present to audiences, they just take the lazy route and just rehash old zombie movies and present them as “remakes” or a “retooling” of classic horror films. This is what’s been done to Day of The Dead, a remake of the classic George Romero movie. Day of The Dead basically completes the Romero series of zombie movies that have been remade. All of them, unfortunately, sucked.
The new Day of The Dead remake is different from the other Romero remakes in that the story has been drastically altered from the original. The new movie tells the story of a “flu-like” epidemic that ravages an unnamed town in Colorado. The military has been issued an order to cordon off the area and prevent people from leaving. Corp. Bowman (Mena Suvari) is part of the military contingent and is coincidentally also a resident of the town. She decides to visit her mother and discovers that she is sick from the flu and decides to bring her to the hospital along with her brother and his girlfriend. While in the hospital, the flu victims turn into zombies and all hell breaks loose.
That small synopsis is enough to show Romero fans that this was not the story of the original film. Gone are the almost philosophical musings of what makes a man, civility and baser instincts. What is left in the 2008 version is an oversimplification of the whole original concept – an MTV version that substitutes depth for gore, senseless violence, and a kindergarten level story. I also have to take exception to this whole “fast zombie” phenomenon. It’s a big insult to zombie lore and just makes zombies more unbelievable than they already are. And Day of The Dead makes the stupidest version by actually making the zombies cling to walls and ceilings!
Mena Suvari’s talents are wasted in this movie. This is such a big demotion compared to her star-making turn in American Beauty. She tries to come off as a strong femal e character but ends up looking lost and bewildered. Ving Rhames is another talent that is wasted here. The fact that he only had almost twenty minutes of screen time for a character that is not even memorable leads one to believe that Mr. Rhames just needed the paycheck for accepting the movie. The inclusion of Mr. Mariah Carey Nick Cannon has also led me to the conclusion that any movie with his name attached to it is liable to suck big time.
I am not even going to try and talk how director Steve Miner did in this movie. This is not the Steve Miner who managed to make Lake Placid such an entertaining ride.
The bottomline here is that if you want your zombie movie fix. You’re better off looking for it elsewhere. Or better yet, track down the original for a more cerebral fix.