Land of the Dead

2005

Land of the Dead

Critics Consensus

George A. Romero's latest entry in his much-vaunted Dead series is not as fresh as his genre-inventing original, Night of the Living Dead. But Land of the Dead does deliver on the gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action.

74%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 178

51%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 137,401
User image

Land of the Dead Photos

Movie Info

It has been two decades since master filmmaker GEORGE A. ROMERO's zombies have stalked the screens of motion picture theaters. For years, fans around the world have been eagerly awaiting his return.And now that day is here.An all-new chapter of horror is about to begin...George A. Romero's Land of the Dead is the acclaimed director's long-awaited return to the genre he invented, beginning with the seminal Night of the Living Dead and continuing with Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.In Romero's harrowing newest vision, the world (as humankind has known it) is merely a memory. In its place is the never-ending nightmare existence of us-the living-versus them-the "walkers." What's left of mankind is cordoned off behind the walls of a fortified city while the walking dead roam the vast wasteland beyond. The few wealthy and powerful try to maintain an illusion of life as it was, dwelling high above the city in the exclusive towers of Fiddler's Green, the last bastion of the ruling class. On the streets below, however, the remaining, less fortunate of the city's inhabitants eke out a hard-scrabble life, seeking what little solace they can in the vices available-gambling, flesh trade, drugs-anything that offers even a fleeting respite from the hell their lives have become.Both the lofty heights of Fiddler's Green and the demoralizing lows of the city below are lorded over by a handful of ruthless opportunists, led by Kaufman (DENNIS HOPPER), who keeps his hands in everything, from real estate to less above-board pursuits. To bring food and other essential supplies to the occupants of the city and to allow the Green's well-to-do to acquire the scarce luxury items to which they were once accustomed, a hardened group of mercenaries-headed by Riley (SIMON BAKER) and his second-in-command, Cholo (JOHN LEGUIZAMO)-run retrieval missions outside the city, protected by their massive armored vehicle, Dead Reckoning. Riley and Cholo, like Kaufman, are in it for the money, which they hope to use for their own escapes- Riley to the North, with promises of "a world without fences" and freedom, and Cholo to the luxury of Fiddler's Green, far away from the violent life he has known.While Kaufman and his employees concern themselves with commerce, life is changing both within and beyond the walls of the city. Unrest and anarchy are on the rise among the city's disenfranchised and outside, the army of the dead is changing, evolving, learning to organize and communicate.When Cholo commandeers Dead Reckoning, intent on extorting millions out of Kaufman and his cronies, Riley and his ragtag group-including Slack (ASIA ARGENTO) and Charlie (ROBERT JOY)-are called into action to stop Cholo and, in the process, protect the city and its population from the growing army of evolving zombies storming its weakening perimeter.Universal Pictures and Atmosphere Entertainment MM present A Mark Canton-Bernie Goldmann and Romero-Grunwald Production, in association with Wild Bunch: George A. Romero's Land of the Dead, starring Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy and John Leguizamo. Written and directed by Romero, the film is produced by MARK CANTON (Taking Lives), PETER GRUNWALD (Monkey Shines) and BERNIE GOLDMANN (Taking Lives).Joining Romero behind the camera are director of photography MIROSLAW BASZAK (Picture Claire), production designer ARV GREYWAL (upcoming 16 Blocks), editor MICHAEL DOHERTY (New Blood), costume designer ALEX KAVANAGH (upcoming Saw 2) and composers REINHOLD HEIL and JOHNNY KLIMEK (Shattered Glass). STEVE BARNETT, DENNIS E. JONES, RYAN KAVANAUGH and LYNWOOD SPINKS serve as executive producers. -- © Universal Pictures

Watch it now

Cast

News & Interviews for Land of the Dead

Critic Reviews for Land of the Dead

All Critics (178) | Top Critics (34)

Audience Reviews for Land of the Dead

  • Apr 19, 2014
    Its strange to see a Romero picture with a decent budget, actual stars, and major studio backing. The film mostly works . . . Romero gives the usually mindless hordes of zombies something interesting to do this time, I just wish the political/social commentary was a little less on the nose.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2013
    George Romero had been on a self-imposed hiatus before 'Land of the Dead' but he strikes back with a vengeance in this brisk fourth installment. Romero always infuses his spine-tinglers with a blast of ripe social commentary and 'Land of the Dead' explores the post-apocalyptic class system, the distraction tactics of wartime (the zombies are inordinately fond of fireworks) and the underestimation of the enemy (zombies are pawns for amusement). Some people were appalled at the learning curve of Big Daddy and his throng of followers but I thought it was a fresh and revolutionary upheaval of the status quo in these movies. We are actually engrossed in the evolutionary process of the zombie's pilgrimage to Fiddler's Green and their emergence from the silky-black water is iconic. The film contains several sublime in-jokes including the reprisal of Tom Savini's biker zombie from 'Dawn of the Dead'. As with most of Romero's walking-dead films, the characters' deaths are creatively indelible such as a zombie whose head is dangling by a lone nerve fiber and a zombie who tears out a belly-button piercing for easy access to the intestines. The jaunty undead epic 'Land of the Dead' may not be as renowned as the previous three films in the loosely connected franchise but it is by no means inferior.
    Cory T Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2012
    Not as good as the remake of Dawn Of The Dead, And it was sometimes a little boring and silly, But it tried something new and it worked most of the time but it's classic Romero.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2012
    "High on the rapids, it struck their tiny raft, and plunged them down a thousand feet below, to the land of the dead!" I kind of wish that the performers in the original "Land of the Lost" were zombies, just so they would have an excuse for their [u]dead[/u]pan acting. Shoot, forget "Land of the Lost" having more to do with zombies, I'd love to see this zombie film have more to do with "Land of the Lost" just so we could have a bunch of crazy extinct dinosaurs and Zarns scoot around as zombies and eat people. At the very least, I was hoping for Colin Hay to show up and identify this world of the should-be buried as the real land down under, though that's partially because I wish that someone would try to make some sense out of what Hay was talking about when he said, "head full of zombie", or, well, anything in "Down Under". I like the song and all, though I suppose we may never fully understand the minds of Scots and Aussies, much less a Scot-Aussies' (Doesn't Fred from "Scooby Doo" wear Aussie-Scots?) mind, or, for that matter, singing accent (Now, don't tell me that you didn't think that Colin Hay was Jamaican when you first heard "Down Under", because you'd have an easier time figuring out that Nina Simone is a woman), but we appear to not have too much trouble with understanding the minds of zombies. No, people, zombie humanization is, of all things, one of your more believable things about this entire series, and certainly makes for one of your relatively better installments in this "Living Dead" saga, which is good, because if you thought that Romero kept you waiting too long between "Night" and "Dawn", it took him twenty years after "Day of the Dead" to get this sucker out there. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's here now, yet its being worth the wait is a bit debatable, for although this film stands as one of your better "Living Dead" installments, that's not saying much, so sure enough, this film also comes out as underwhelming, and for quite a few reasons. Prior to this film, and perhaps even in some areas of this film, the series has made its share of unique touches, yet conventionalism has been creeping in little by little with each installment, or at least until now, because with this film, conventionalism doesn't so much creep in as much as it dives in, because when they say that this film isn't quite as refreshing as its predecessors, they're not kidding. Okay, now, maybe this film isn't too terribly cliched, being certainly less embarassingly conventional than the later to arrive so-called "remake" of "Day of the Dead", yet it still all too often collapses into tropes not only established by the predecessors in this groundbreaking series, but also by many of the more recent inventive zombie films that George Romero influenced, and, for that matter, even by non-horror films, thus making for an all too familiar story whose conventionalism renders it predictable. George Romero's screenplay has its high spots, and even its share of unique spots, yet on the whole, this film's screenplay stands to be more refreshing, as well as better in other areas, as Romero's structure of the conventional story is itself improvable, being a touch heavy-handed in its progression. The plot isn't a blunt mess like something along the lines of, well, Steve Miner's "Day of the Dead" (I know that this film came out before that disaster, but man, I just hate that movie so much), yet its plot feels a touch too slick in flow, to where rising and falling action goes a touch obscured, and it doesn't help that Romero not only structures the film a bit blandly, but also tells the story a bit blandly, as director. Through stylish score work and atmosphere, the aura of the film feels a smidge overbearing, with ceaseless intrigue that Romero doesn't usually need to force in to produce genuinely, thus leaving steam to dwindle little by little, only to be restored after a while when Romero does deliver on genuine atmosphere, yet not quickly enough to keep the film consistently striking. The complaints are limited, with complaints there are not quite being as intense as I make them sound, just so consistent that they do what the flaws in each one of these installments have always done: bland things up and explose the underwhelming spots in a promising story over the strong spots just enough to make the final product, as a whole, underwhelming. That being said, while this film should and deserves to "sink its teeth" deeper, there's still enough "bite" to things for you to keep "coming back" (I want to stop the zombie resurrection puns too, so is anyone catching on?), or at least keep your eyes occupied. Okay, now, perhaps Miroslaw Baszak's cinematography isn't too terribly striking, yet the bleakly dark depths in its lighting is engagingly fitting and sustains attention, though perhaps not as much as Reinhold Heil's and Johnny Klimek's score work, which isn't too terribly impressive, or even all that terribly unique, yet is still pretty impressive, and surprisingly so, with a certain stylish slickness to it that rather gracefully fits the ominous atmosphere, while more pronounced moments - complete with chants and everything - give the film a moment of thrilling sweep that conveys weight. Another thing that gives this film weight is, of course, something that establishes consequence: action, because when the bullets, blood, guts, heads and fireworks (You'll get it when you see the film) start flying, it's hard for you to not float toward the edge of your seat, engaged by the harsh and effectively claustrophobic action that emphasizes the weight of the danger within this story. This action and consequence is certainly complimented by the gore, which is in and of itself complimented by the effects that bring it to life, because although this film's being as gore-ific as the somewhat dated predecessors that Tom Savini worked on is debatable, Greg Nicotero nevertheless delivers disgustingly buyable blood, guts and other goodies that, when flaunted through quite a few unique or at least audaciosuly nifty gore effect concepts, makes messy moments that may get to be a touch too much at times, yet generally stands as thrilling cool and consequence-supplementing. Stylistically and, certainly, technically, the film is pretty effective, yet fancy style and technical craftsmanship can't drive this film too far, thus the film goes kept alive by what it delivers on in the substance department, which goes tainted by a degree of bland structuring and, of course, near-ceaseless tropes, yet is generally rather inspired, with some depth and intrigue that is made all the sharper by concepts that are, in fact, unique, and pretty interesting for that matter. "Day of the Dead" presented concepts of human conditioning for zombies that were pretty interesting and surprisingly a bit believable, and with this film, George Romero explores such an intriguing concept further by steadily but surely unraveling the depths of zombie humanization, or rather, rehumanization and evolution, and watching these zombies condition themselves to capture their prey and even feel (Maybe giving these zombies profound emotions and an understanding of the concept of mercy killing is going a smidge too far, but it is still pretty cool) is interesting enough, but when you combine that with other themes and notes within this film's story, you've a reasonably intriguing tale. This intrigue stands to be structured more comfortably, yet still stands, and not just thanks to Romero's writing, but also thanks to Romero's direction, which is a touch blandly overatmospheric at times, yet still has its moments of genuineness that reflect Romero's inspiration that may not be enough to carry this film too far, yet certainly keeps it going. While flawed in its layout, this film's story is an interesting one whose execution stands to be better, yet remains nevertheless pretty commendable in some areas, as well as, as a whole, pretty engaging, or if nothing else, simply entertaining. Overall, the film collapses into trope after trope as both a "Living Dead" installment and thriller, thus creating a sort of blandness that goes intensified by flawed and somewhat heavy-handed story structure, executed by faithfully bland storytelling by George Romero, whose missteps aren't too ceaselessly glaring, yet are still ceaseless enough to slow down the steam of the final product and leave it to, like its predecessors, fall short of potential, yet still bite with reasonable firmness, boasting a kind of nifty style and score work that compliment the tone of the film, while a sense of consequence goes complimented by nifty action and gore, - brought to life by some impressive effects - and breaks up a consistent certain degree of reasonable intrigue, established by some interesting unique spots and other engaging areas in the story, brought to life by generally inspired storytelling by George Romero, who, through all of its mistakes, ultimately makes "Land of the Dead" an entertaining thriller that holds your interest more often not. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

Land of the Dead Quotes

News & Features