Thursday, September 2, 2010

Survival of the Dead



Survival of the Dead 2009
Director: George Romero
Writer: George Romero
Starring Alan Van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh, Kathleen Munroe, Devon Bostick, Richard Fitzpatrick, Athena Karkanis, Stefano DiMatteo, Joris Jarsky and Eric Woolfe
After Diary which to me was quite a disappointment I thought Romero had lost his flair for telling compelling zombie stories and so I was dreading seeing Survival. I am happy to say it succeeded my expectations. It is a compelling story that really is like a western and reminds a lot of the cattle war type of films from the like of John Ford and Howard Hawks. The story is smart and the cast is excellent. The use of CGI effects is done well but not overused which seems to be a problem in most modern horror films. The only complaint I would make is that the story was not fleshed out enough, I could have easily seen another 30 minutes of characterization and it would not have hurt the film in the slightest. This is Romero batting 300 again and I hope to see more zombie opuses like this from him.
The plot basics are this, on a island off the coast of Delaware there is a warring clan of families run by 2 patriarchs (Welsh and Fitzpatrick) who have disputing ideads on how to deal with the uprising zombie epidemic. One of the patriarchs is sent packing off the island but soon returns coming along with a band of errant soldiers who are looking for a place to recoup. Little do they know they are getting drawn into a clan feud that could destroy them all. It seems one side wants to rehabilitate the undead by getting them to eat something other than human flesh, while the other side just wants to put them down. This leads to a escalating clan war where everyone is in the crosshairs.
This is a fine zombie film. Romero’s direction is tight as usual and the cinematography is flawless in the film, it really does look like a zombie western. He stages the action sequences well and I especially loved the swim to the feryy boat that was very tense. The script is very good as well, though some parts could have been expanded on I think. I would have especially liked to have seen how O’Flynn had taken over the dock and how he had dealt with other survivors that he encountered. But, the characterization is tight and I really enjoyed the character of O’Flynn. The cast is excellent too. Sprang was a good lead who seemed embittered and wanting a end to the life of survival. Welsh was amazing as O’Flynn and really carried the film to its climax. I also really enjoyed the performance of Karkanis as Tomboy she was a refreshing character in the film. The SFX and make up effects were quite good, though I think it would have been better if Romero had gotten Nicotero to do them. But the zombies were quite believable and very menacing. The score by Robert Carli definitely had a western feel to it and it really suited the film. This was a giant step up from Diary of the Dead and makes me think Romero still has more to say with his zombie films so I hope to see more.
This one gets 4 out of 5


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