Diary of the Dead (US, 2008)

This is for real

This is for real

As the most influential zombie-film maker George Romero might be accused of being behind the times by introducing self-reflexive postmodernism into his movies over 10 years after Wes Craven’s success. However, his seminal Night of the Living Dead (1968) included a scene where Barbara’s brother states, in his best Vincent Price voice, that ‘they are going to get you’ just before they actually d0. In addition, Romero’s updating zombie movies for Web 2.0 so the filmmaker above, about to bite (er be bitten) the dust), is shooting the end of civilisation and uploading it to the web.

Of course the filmmakers start by making a horror movie complete with mummy who is told, when he runs after the damsel, that he can’t run as he’s dead; his ankles would snap off. So Romero rejects 28 Days Later…‘s (UK, 2002) innovation of zombies who can ‘leg it’. The 2nd remake of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (2004) also included very fast zombies. Personally I like them but Romero sticks to the snail-paced zombies who overwhelm by their immense numbers rather than by being fleet of foot.

However, the tone of the film is not particularly playful as civilisation dissolves all too readily and there’s plenty of effective horror and gore. The film ends with a reference to Night of the Living Dead with ‘good ole boys’ shooting zombies for fun and the narrator wondering if humanity deserves to survive. The original was about the Civil Rights protests that were rocking America in the ’60s; Romero’s film before DiaryLand of the Dead, 2005 – was about Bush’s America. In Dawn he had zombies seek sanctuary in shopping malls; a satire on consumerism. It’s clear that Romero’s zombies are where the zeitgeist is at.

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2 Responses

  1. I hate to be picky, but in 28 Days Later they aren’t zombies because they aren’t dead, they are infected.

    • You’re right of course but in their mindless pursuit of biting they certainly behave like zombies.

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