Inside we’ve posted Nelson’s negative review of George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead, which arrives at retailers on May 20th from Dimension Extreme and Genius Products. The the film will follow a group of college students shooting a horror movie in the woods who stumble upon a real zombie uprising. When the onslaught begins, they seize the moment as any good film students would, capturing the undead in a “cinema verite” style that causes more than the usual production headaches.
There is really only one thing that can be said about Diary of the Dead and it’s that Romero should never attempt to make another film ever again. The film is an exercise in inept directing, bad drama student acting and script writing that gives Uwe Boll fans something to cheer about. In fact, the entire film is an insult to not just horror/zombie fans but to film goers in general.
Now, I’m a Romero fan, I think Night, Dawn and Day are great films. They stand on their own of being intrepid pieces of cinema, even if you strip them of the negative genre stigma that most people associate with zombie films. However, Diary offers nothing to the table. The only thing it does muster up is a feeling of incompetency as Romero hamfists the `plot’ and `message’ of his movie as if it were being read to a class full of kindergarten students. Think George Bush on 9/11…though I can’t tell which the bigger tragedy is.
The story is convoluted self masturbatory drivel from Romero himself who really should have made this film 10 or 20 years ago when it may have been relevant. The idea of media saturating us empty vessels with violence and blurring the lines of reality and entertainment is nothing new. Sorry George but you completely missed the mark on this one. Either that or your medication.
We have a group of students making a horror movie in the middle of nowhere (accompanied by their drunk yet wise professor) when word of riots and people coming back from the dead is broadcast on the radio. Some terrible acting ensues and the film crew piles into a mobile home and run over a few zombies on the way. Our driver isn’t convinced that they were actual animated corpses and so she pulls over, takes out a gun and shoots herself out of guilt. And no one really cares. For a film that is going off on realism and is filmed/presented in the same vein as Cannibal Holocaust and Blair Witch; no one seemed all that shocked about what was going on. If my description there sounded a tad hasty than you have a good idea as to what you are in store for. A jumbled mess of non linear events that make you weep for zombie fans the world over.
Then there is the bad acting. The, “I can see why you look through this camera, everything doesn’t seem so real” and the “I just shot three people” hospital scene all the way to the Amish guy (what the hell was that all about). There is no convincing realism to the actors portrayal of what is going on around them and all you really want is for them to die as quickly as possible to spare yourself the horror of their acting. And honestly, that’s the only real horrifying thing about this film. Well, that and the terrible CGI effects. Think Exorcist: The Beginning hyena attack scene but worse and more out of place. In the same vein, there are not that many zombies in the film. Fans who want to see the staple violence and gore in a zombie flick are not going to walk away satiated.
Romero-verse or not, this is a very bad movie. The first sequence was great, I thought I was in for a treat but the only thing I was treated to was a zombie-turd sandwich. There is nothing to offer the viewer aside from maybe the thrill of putting a quarter in a vending machine and getting that shitty toy you didn’t want.