|Available at Amazon.com|
When it comes to the world of horror films, remakes seem to have taken over the genre and become the main source of income for directors. Some of them really aren’t that bad when you sit back and take a look at The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and Halloween. Then you can’t help but look at such tragedies Prom Night and The Hills Have Eyes 2 and wonder if the creative juices are so bad that they can’t even make an originally good film into something worth watching. Of course you could go a completely different route with remakes and just take bits and pieces of the original film in order to make your new one seem like it was your own vision. That is what the crew for Day of the Dead has done and yet they failed to make it entertaining or their own.
A small city in Colorado is put on quarantine lockdown as a virus has started to spread around the residents and make them very ill. Since people are not going to like the idea of being under lock and key, the military is called in to keep some order and make sure everyone follows instructions. Soon the military personnel have to deal with a lot more though then just a couple rebellious residents that are looking to break free. The virus is taking the lives of numerous people, but it isn’t long before they are back on their feet and worse then ever. It turns them into the living dead and they are out for blood and the fresh meat of all those not yet infected. First they tried to keep the peace and now they are trying to escape with their lives and stop them before it is all too late.
Sounds familiar, right? Of course it does because it is the same situation that is presented in just about every zombie film ever created. Zombies are awesome though and no matter how bad the actual film may be, there is some entertainment value to be had somewhere. This is an entire new breed of zombies too. At least to my horror knowledge they are because these freaks were just strange. You’ve seen the slow moving creepy zombies before. Then recently there’s been a rash of the running zombies who have the intelligence of their former human brains. These guys though…they’re like circus acrobats. Not only do they show some signs of intelligence, but they gain superhuman ability to jump and leap tall buildings and showcase their super zombie strength. It’s just odd, but cool.
As for anything else being done right, there isn’t too much. Plenty of blood and gore makes for an entertaining hour and a half, but not entertaining enough. Perhaps it’s the actors involved that really had me wishing and waiting for the film to come to an end because they just weren’t that good. Mena Suvari is a dainty little chick that has been cast perfectly in films like American Beauty and the American Pie franchise, but not here as a military troop leader. She was absolutely ridiculous in trying to be a hard-ass that can lead people. It didn’t help either that she’s leading some like Nick Cannon who is one of the most worthless piles of human flesh I’ve ever seen. If he never gets another acting job, it will be by the good grace of God above.
Don’t go and pick up this film expecting to see an exact remake of Romero’s original because you won’t find it. The main plot and a few things here and there are kept in, but most of it was totally redone by the writers and director so that it could be a brand new film in a sense. They needed to follow past examples of Dawn of the Dead and The Hills Have Eyes which showed that remakes (even when they are almost word for word the same) can succeed because the original was so damn good. Here a good film was taken from its birth year of 1985 and brutally murdered just twenty-three years later.
The film is shown in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and it has a greenish-yellow hue on it throughout that doesn’t help it any. Be prepared though for tons of blood and gore in all its red and purple glory.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and it actually sounds very good with the music providing a lot of intensity and all dialogue being heard clearly.
Audio Commentary – Director Steve Miner, writer Jeffrey Reddick, editor Nate Easterling, and stars Christa Campbell, Michael Welch, and Stark Sands have a seat together for the commentary track. You really won’t have much of a reason to watch the film a second time just to hear this because the information isn’t anything earth shattering. They talk about filming on location in Bulgaria, the different types of zombies, and all that happens on screen.
Alternate Ending – This is merely a five minute alternate ending that could have been left in actually instead of what was finally presented in the film. I kind of liked this one better.
Interviews – Almost anyone you can imagine being involved with Day of the Dead talks about how much fun it was making the film and being involved in such a great zombie franchise. Nothing special.
On the Set – Coming in at right around fifteen minutes is this feature which is nothing more then a simplified “making of” featurette.
Photo Gallery – Still frame shots from the film itself and behind the scenes.
Trailers – Smiley Face, The Contract, Headless Horseman, King Of California, Blonde and Blonder, and The Perfect Witness
You want to see a good zombie film from George Romero? Then check out the original Dawn of the Dead or even the remake which was fantastic. This film wasn’t as bad as the remake of Land of the Dead, but it wasn’t good either. It had its moments and all that, but reminded me way too much of 28 Days Later which is essentially what it was trying to be. And trust me…it ain’t! The special features are really not good either and worth only an extra forty-five minutes or so if you don’t count the commentary track. Maybe try a rental sometime if you care to check out all zombie films created like I do, but don’t spend your money on purchasing this DVD at any cost. I’m still insulted at how stupid they think we are in having Ving Rhames play two totally different characters in films that actually follow one another. Bah!
First Look presents Day Of The Dead. Directed by: Steve Miner. Starring: Ving Rhames, Mena Suvari, Nick Cannon, Michael Welch, Christa Campbell. Written by: Jeffrey Reddick & George A. Romero. Running time: 87 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: April 8, 2008. Available at Amazon.com