Day of the Dead Reviews
Almost 10 years after the release of "Dawn of the Dead", George A. Romero decided to return to his zombie world with the awfully titled "Day of the Dead", the polarizing installment of the Living Dead Trilogy. Is this a worthy finally for the trilogy?
After the events of "Dawn of the Dead", zombie have overrun the world. With few humans left, we follow a group of scientists who try to find a solution to the zombie pandemic, however they biggest treat may not be the flesh eating ghouls but the soldiers they share room with.
From an isolated farmhouse to an overrun mall, Romero now take us to a bunker and while the social commentary tried to be more ambitious, it ended up falling apart completely. While "Night" and "Dawn" had its handful of problems they also had Romero´s creativity to compensate, but it seems that Romero ran out of ideas zombie ideas by 1985. "Day of the Dead" has the worst acting of the trilogy as it is so hammy it is quite hilarious, a story that starts with premise but soon falls apart, social commentary that seems aimless, unlikeable characters, a hilarious villain that tries to be menacing and utterly failing, a laughable script, by the numbers storytelling, and major pacing issues. However let's give credit where credit´s due: The makeup effects are fantastic, they are some of the best work Tom Savini has ever done.
"Day of the Dead" is a disappointing conclusion as it suffers from God awful acting, a weak script, uninteresting characters and humongous pacing issues. It is by no means a bad movie but considering its predecessors it is quite a downfall.
The movie is a very well paced film, building on the tensions in the underground base until things inevitably boil over, as they must, with humanity being its own worst enemy.
Well worth a look, give it a rental at the very least.
George A. Romero has tackled the zombie apocalypse with several different approaches across his career. He has proven his ability to craft films that balance horror thrills with genuinely intelligent thought, but Day of the Dead takes this concept in the wrong direction and often finds itself getting so political that it seems to forget it is a horror film. While Night of the Living Dead (1968) kept its political elements as an allegory in the story and Dawn of the Dead (1978) as an undertone to the narrative, Day of the Dead attempts to deal with the idea far more explicitly within the screenplay.
The actual zombie horror in the film seems to play second fiddle to its more dramatic ideals despite the fact that they only go so far due to budgetary constraints. Originally hoping for his film to be the "Gone with the Wind (1939) of zombie films", Day of the Dead falls far from this ambition by failing to deliver enough as a genre picture or function as a legitimate dramatic piece. It seems far more bent on the latter as the majority of the film is a slowly-paced drama emphasizing the political turmoil of the characters in their difficult environment. The film is certainly ambitious to think outside the box of a more genre film approach to its subject matter, but this isn't what audiences have come to look for. Audiences have come for the cheap thrills of a good zombie film, yet they have to find themselves waiting through half of the film before they get any of it. And by the time the film finally gets there, the damage has already been done.
The first half of Day of the Dead centres all around the communal structure of the survivors living in underground communities before the second half shows everything fall apart as the hoard overtakes them. This is annoying for a vast number of reasons, with the first being that the story wastes time trying to be innovative before succumbing to a naturally formulaic storyline. Formulaic horror is tolerable if the film utilizes enough stylish gimmicks to keep audiences tantalized by pretty pictures till the end, but Day of the Dead's ambitions to be more thought provoking and intelligent simply stands in the way of its potential as a guilty pleasure. Day of the Dead is packed full of characters with no particular development or reason why audiences should really care about them, and to have them talking for extended periods of time without all that much interesting to say ensures a failure to embrace the better talents of George A. Romero. Amid all the dialogue in Day of the Dead, the intensity begins to fall flat and audiences who are not deeply engaged with the one-dimensional characters will just be left to wait for things to get better. And despite the horror elements becoming somewhat more explicit in the second half of the film, by that point the damage has already been done and so the predictable conclusion lacks any kind of sufficient build-up to justify it.
Still, George A. Romero is worthy of praise for trying out something new with his synonymous genre. Even if Day of the Dead is sporadically stirring at best, it is nevertheless a sufficiently ambitious project which some audiences should find pleasure with. The film is a slowly paced and talkative one which is inconsistent with the intensity in its atmosphere as the threat of zombies plays second fiddle to the discussion of them by the characters, but when the film finally gets to its climax we see George A. Romero returning to form as he unleashes a horde of awesome-quality special-effects induced horror scenes.
The work of Tom Savini is the best part of Day of the Dead. Within the few moments in the film where we actually see characters getting killed, Tom Savini's cinemagraphic makeup effects elicit imagery which stand as the most commendable parts of the film. The artist takes his talents to a gory extreme in Day of the Dead with effects ranging from standard torn limbs and gunshot wounds to complete dismemberment. The best sight in the film is the image of several zombies completely tearing the human characters apart from every angle because this is where the violent potential of the film hits the high point of all its glory. Tom Savini's work with George A. Romero remains as solid as ever in Day of the Dead.
Though character development is not a strong point of Day of the Dead, it doesn't prevent the actors from displaying their own levels of charisma. Unfortunately due to the absolutely serious nature of the film there are no particularly gimmicky characters outside of some of the zombies, meaning there are no particularly cool action heroes to root for. But nevertheless the actors remain dedicated to material and embrace the intensity of George A. Romero's ambitions.
In terms of standing out, Lori Cardille makes an effectively intense lead. If not the most interesting character she is nevertheless a bold and strong-willed figure who is progressive in the sense that she is given nothing short of respect as a female character by George A. Romero, defying typical tropes about women in the genre. Together he works with the actress to tune a strong performance which is fearful without being terrified and intense without having any exploitation elements. And Sherman Howard makes a memorable presence as zombie Bub due to his silent movements and facial expressions carrying elements of Boris Karloff in his iconic portrayal of Frankenstein's monster. He is a creepy yet intriguing nature about him and is intimidating in a different manner to all the other zombies in the story.
Day of the Dead has some intelligent ambitions and strong production values, but its abundance of dialogue at the hands one-dimensional characters coupled with a slow pace leaves it lacking in the glory of George A. Romero's better efforts with the genre.
Starring:Lori Cardille,Terry Alexander,Joseph Pilato, Jarlath Conroy,Anthony Dileo Jr.,Richard Liberty,Sherman Howard,Gary Howard Klar,Ralph Marrero,John Amplas,Phillip G. Kellams, Taso N. Stavrakis,Gregory Nicotero,Don Brockett,and William Cameron
Directed by George A. Romero
THE DARKEST DAY OF HORROR THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN.
Hello Kiddies your pa the crypt-critic here with a very special treat,the final film in George A. Romero's dead trilogy. It is bold and has lots of guts.
The film is set In an underground government installation where they are searching for a cure to overcome this strange transformation into zombies. Unfortunately, the zombies from above ground have made their way into the bunker.
The premise is pretty good and easy to follow but it isn't as interesting as the survival attempt in Dawn of the dead where there are a truck-load of zombies like I thought there would be for this film. The movie was original for it's time but I'm pretty sure there have been many other zombie films similar to this now. I didn't feel this movie had a flowing story though, although I don't feel the pacing was the problem I just didn't find the premise all that.
The acting was top notch,but I have to say that the best performance in this entire film and maybe through out all of horror would be Sherman Howard as Bub the zombie. He stood out in a scene where he discovers what happened and becomes upset and starts throwing a temper tantrum.
I wouldn't say all of the elements of a good horror film is here, I mean it does have it's moments of being grotesque and fun,but it doesn't have that much of an interesting story, I'm giving this day of the dead a three and a half out of five.