Opening Friday, May 28
“Survival of the Dead”
Zombie film pioneer George A. Romero doesn’t know when to quit. Still, his insatiable appetite for building upon his seminal Dead series has been appreciated mostly by diehards (fitting) interested in what new stories Romero can spin out of one catastrophic event. He’s already told the zombie story from the perspectives of people under siege in a farmhouse, a shopping mall, an island off the coast of Florida and a city where Dennis Hopper is president (scared yet?).
After “Land of the Dead,” Romero’s series made an abrupt shift from its usual style. “Diary of the Dead” (the fifth installment) used the first-person perspective to engage contemporary audiences conceding to the growing obsession with videodocumenting any and everything. Romero reached out to a younger crowd in a context with which they might find more relevant, while delivering his zombie-as-metaphor message in a more heavy-handed way than he ever had before (I can’t blame him; a lot of people don’t bother to think about what he has been really saying all along).
Now that Romero’s made clear that civilization is often a veiled form of savagery, and horror audiences are so familiar with the genre, “Survival of the Dead” aims to entertain with a renewed sense of tension. National guardsmen find themselves taking refuge on an island off the coast of Delaware (sure, why not?), inhabited by two feuding families of Irish lineage (and with folksy accents, no less!). The guardsmen get involved in the conflict between the families, as the families cope with family members who’ve become undead.
I don’t expect for there to be many casual zombie movie fans who’ll give time to this one, mostly because of oversaturation. But I think “Survival of the Dead” may offer something interesting that the previous five installments haven’t. In my opinion, the trailer is equal parts “oh puhleease” and “hmph! okay!” What say you?