Survival of the Dead


Survival of the Dead

Critics Consensus

Survival of the Dead offers glimmers of Romero's savage wit, but not nearly enough to make up for his unusually uninspired directing and a lack of new ideas



Total Count: 88


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,920
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Movie Info

A group of rogue soldiers seek shelter from the zombie apocalypse on scenic Plum Island, only to become caught up in a bitter feud between two warring families. Sarge Crocket (Alan Van Sprang) and his motley crew of military abandoners are searching for a safe place to rest when they cross paths with Patrick O'Flynn (Kenneth Welsh). O'Flynn has been banished from Plum Island, where his family is locked in a longtime quarrel with the Muldoons. The O'Flynns see the flesh-eaters as subhuman, never hesitating to put a bullet between their eyes; the Muldoons balk at the prospect of killing their gut-munching loved ones, instead opting to care for their rotting kinfolk until scientists find a cure for the undead scourge. As the division between the two families grows deeper and wider, Crocket and his men realize that on Plum Island, the zombies are the least of their worries.

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Critic Reviews for Survival of the Dead

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (22)

Audience Reviews for Survival of the Dead

  • Jul 18, 2016
    It's hard to believe that Romero was in any way involved in this. Had a moderately interesting point to make, but couldn't make a moderately interesting film to wrap it in. Filled with Syfy level CGI, but does have a single good practical effect in the climax of the piece.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 19, 2014
    Its kind of a western (yes its set on an Island off the coast of Delaware with a bunch of Irishmen, but it fits with that genres typical themes), and an action comedy, and a zombie/horror film . . . the point is that its just got too much going on to work. You add in some ho-hum commentary on how all communities will inevitably collapse and you're left with a disappointing mess. If Romero wants to make any more movies he should just leave the zombie stuff alone, because he's probably said all that he can on this subject
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • May 21, 2013
    A squad of AWOL soldiers happens upon a remote island inhabited by two feuding clans with very different ideas of how to deal with the zombie holocaust. I'd love to say that the latest in George Romero's spiralling Dead franchise has finally stopped the rot, but I'd be lying. Survival Of The Dead's recipe of weak slapstick comedy and cartoon gore turns the once fearful zombies into something of a deeply un-intimidating joke and I wish that just ONCE, a Hollywood casting director could actually cast an actual Irish actor instead of just assuming that an American drawling "Oi'm frum Oireland t'be sure" is good enough. The uninspiring small screen cast are very difficult to care about and I would describe the amateurish feel of the whole thing as "TV standard" if The Walking Dead hadn't come along and proven how high "TV standard" has become over recent years. Instead of witty, insightful satire Romero has chosen to turn The Dead series into a cross between The Munsters and The Beverly Hill Billies and the addition of a half-baked message about nationalism at the very end just doesn't cut it. Easily the worst of the series and I'm sad to say that it's about time he called it a day because it's just getting a little embarrassing now.
    xGary X Super Reviewer
  • Oct 28, 2012
    I guess the title is alright, but if these dead people are trying to survive, then it doesn't sound like they did a terribly good job. I always figured that George Romero cut out the "Living" part in "Living Dead" in these films' titles after "Night" because he was worried that the oxymorons would get a bit annoying, but with this title, he may as well have put "Living" back in there, because this film is about as oxymoronic in the title department as it is just moronic in plenty of other departments. No, this film isn't that messy, but the fact of the matter is that omitting oxymorons from the title isn't exactly the only thing that Romero says, "Forget it" over with this film, though I'd imagine he really started to wish that he had done more with this installment after looking at the box office results. $14.3 thousand... wait for it... "worldwide", son; "Mr. Nobody" outsold this sucker, though I reckon that's what happens when you screen a film at every festival with most everyone who would want to see it and have it come back with negative reviews... then go straight-to-DVD in the UK, then straight-to-video-on-demand everywhere else, before you finally get a limited theatrical release. Wow, this film just can't catch a break, nor can this series in general for that matter, because "Diary" didn't make but $6.4 million. I suppose people's interest in these films are dropping like dead bodies, only, unlike these dead bodies, interest doesn't appear to be getting back up, as this film, like a zombie itself, died on its feet when it came to critical reception. I, however, feel that the film survives, yet make no mistake, this puppy doesn't make it out without taking its share of blows. In recent years, if not since the dawn of the "Dead", - as in the beginning of the series, as in "Night of the Living Dead" - George Romero's writing has been cheesing up progressively, and while this film still isn't overwhelmingly corny, it's as cheesy as ever, which is something of a good thing, because where "Diary of the Dead" slipped up was in its dances between straight-face and tongue-in-cheek, if not just accidentally fall-flat, being inconsistent, whereas this film keeps even as entertainingly cheesy. Still, make no mistake, this film gets cheesy something fierce, and while that sometimes works as entertaining, for every self-joke that hits, there are several that fall flat, with the clearly unintentionally cheesy moments falling flat every time. Quite a few attemptedly straight-faced dialogue and set pieces fall flat, sometimes as embarassing, and slow down the film's momentum tremendously, especially when they're made all the worse in acting execution, for although these performers aren't as consistent, or even as intense in the bad acting as Romero's last batch of Canucks from "Diary" (Seriously, what is up with Romero and getting Canadians in recent years?) certain performances fall just as flat as certain writing moments, even when the writing doesn't fault. Again, there's not too much in the way of faulty acting with this film, with consistency in bad performances quite possibly dwindling little by little as the film progresses, yet make no mistake, there are bad performances, and when performances aren't bad, they're simply mediocre, and this dilutes the punch of the promising project, yet when you really start cracking down on what really holds this film back, it all leads back to Romero's writing, which does more than just crack a few bad lines, structuring story with some sloppy heavy-handedness that ranges from off-putting to glaring, as well as with very little in the way of originality, thus creating blandness that Romero makes all the worse in directorial execution. Romero has, in my opinion, never really done a bang-up job with these films, and doesn't even do too bad of a job with this film, doing certainly better work with this installment than he did with "Diary", yet the Romero's direction feels consistently under-inspired, putting little care into atmospheric smoothness, to where bite forcibly bears down quite awkwardly, if it's even there that is. One of the biggest problems with this film is the same one faced by every predecessor in Romero's "Living Dead" series: blandness, it's just that this film, while not the faultiest installment, remains a bit faultier than others, with missteps that make more glaring the blandness and leave this film to fall flat as just another underwhelming "Living Dead" film. As underwhelming as many say, however, it is not, for although this film stands as one of your relatively weaker installments in the "Living Dead" saga, hey, it's still better than "Diary", as well as decent by its own right, particularly in the action department. Now, George Romero has never delivered too phenomenally as far as action is concerned, yet never has he fallen flat on action, and sure enough, while this film probably isn't quite as thrilling as certain other "Living Dead" installments (No topping "Dawn", and I'm not talking about the original; great job at the zombie butt-kickery, Zack), when thing go down in the form of a throwdown, it's hard to not be fairly impressed and engaged, particularly with the gore, though certainly not because Romero keeps the violence good and logical. Romero has skipped around the edge of the top time and again with these films, yet with installment, he throws everything out of the window in particularly incorporates tongue-in-cheek sensibilities in the midst of action, which is a move that doesn't always work, yet works more than you'd expect more often than not, partially because the gore concepts get to be rather unique, whether when they're actively over-the-top, or genuinely intense and supplementary to tension. What compliments the concepts of the gore is, of course, the thing that brings the gore to life: the effects, or at least the practical one, because when the gore goes digital, ouch, it falls mighty flat, yet with the practical effects, while not everything stands as completely buyable, Colin Davies' work is generally believable, or at least played up well enough in the long run for you to go with the flow of the blood flow and walk away with plenty of nifty moments of messiness to think about, maybe even as supplements to the film's tension. The film isn't quite as tense as most of its predecessors, yet I found tension there, maybe not consistently, but enough for me to find myself on the edge of my seat, which isn't to say that the tension doesn't break up an undeniable degree of intrigue. Again, the film just isn't delivering on the thrills as much as it certainly should, yet there is a consistent degree of engagement value, if not all-out intrigue that stands to be more intense, yet still stands nevertheless, and it's all thanks to the occasions in which Romero does, in fact, finally wake up as director. There is a degree of under-inspiration in Romero's direction, and a fair bit of it, but really, on the whole, Romero's ambition is palpable, sometimes too much so, to where overambition is formed and further slows down the film, yet generally to a certain charm is formed, as well as intensified when Romero finds occasions in which he does, in fact, back up that ambition, whether when he's racking up tension and intrigue or doing a genuniely decent job with the tongue-in-cheek aspects. If Romero's charm does nothing else, then it's the same thing that it's always done: create entertainment value, for although this film stands certainly much dryer than the action sequences (Like I said, things get messy), it's still fun to a certain extent, standing to be more, yet still standing backed up by just enough to keep consistent in charm and ultimately do its job of entertaining as a piece of entertainment. Bottom line, the film's more tongue-in-cheek sensibilities have their occasions in which they work, yet generally fall flat, while not so intentionally cheesy moments - made worse by a few fault acting jobs - slow down the film's momentum tremendously, though not quite as much as such other writing faults as heavy-handed story structuring and a lack of originality, both of which combine to create blandness that goes intensified by the degree of under-inspiration within George A. Romero's direction that help in rendering the final product considerably underwhelming, though at least not "Diary of the Dead" underwhelming, going saved as decent by some nifty action sequences, complimented by strong gore that supplements the tension that breaks up the intrigue that (So many, "thats", what is this a mad lib? Th-th-th-th-th-that's not all, folks) George Romero manages to establish through what inspiration there is in his direction, which is just enough to create, if nothing else, consistent charm that goes into making "Survival of the Dead" an entertaining thriller, even if it does stand to be more thrilling. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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