BD Review: A Second Opinion on ‘Survival of the Dead’

It’s no secret that I despise George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead as I wrote this negative review way back in September. After the rash of screenings through TIFF and Fantastic Fest, I started to think I was in the minority, and maybe I still am, but for now it looks as if Bloody Disgusting’s Michael Panduro agrees with me. Below you’ll find his negative thoughts on Romero’s latest zombie opus — and don’t forget to write your own review and tell us what YOU think. I’m dying to know.
What the trinkly fudge just happened!? I feel betrayed, humiliated! This is comparable to something like my girlfriend through 6 years suddenly showing me a lump in her panties and saying she hasn’t been totally honest with me. This feels like when George Lucas butt-fucked a generation with The Phantom Menace. Worse yet, this feels worse than seeing a modern Carpenter or Argento flick!

After sitting through the most ridiculous hour and a half I’ve ever had with the living dead I wanna re-evaluate my entire perception of George A. Romero. I wanna rip out my numerous copies of the dead trilogy (seriously, screw everything after Day), piss on them and set fire to the very memory of ever being a devoted fan. But I’m not gonna do it. Because I remember this exact same thing happening before. It happened when I watched Carpenter’s Ghosts Of Mars and it happened when I watched Argento’s Phantom of The Opera. What the hell happened to these guys in the mid-90s!? Did the drugs stop working or something!? Does talent, judgment and common sense evaporate when you hit 60? I have no idea, but the fact remains that Romero has now conclusively joined the ranks of nonsensical horror-directors who once blew my mind with edgy, relevant and original stories and are now cranking out movies so bad I almost feel sorry for them. The classics are still classics. Question is, how does a filmmaker – a creative artist, if you will – go from greatness to utter shittiness?

I was out there on the frontline defending Land Of The Dead, when it first came out. I thought it was kinda good fun, the production design and acting was kinda ok and the script kinda made sense. But I was wrong, I’ve realized that on repeat viewings. And Diary really sucked, that was apparent first time around. But still it couldn’t have prepared me for the filmic abortion that is Survival of The Dead. I mean, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING works in this film! Every single solitary aspect of filmmaking is flawed to the point that it reeks amateur. This looks like a shitty student film, made not by people with decades of experience, but by snotty teenage stoners wanting to do a huh-huh-zombie-flick. It’s ridiculous, it’s not funny, it just pisses me of. Apart from a monumentally faulty script with everything from valleys of plot-holes, stupid dialogue and scenes that are just nonsense, Survival suffers under poor digital photography that looks horrible on film, clumsy lighting, loose editing and goofy music. And that’s not even counting the acting. My god, the acting! Horrible dialogue gives birth to uneven performances, but it doesn’t necessitate accents that are all over the place or actors that sound like they’re reciting. Furthermore, the fact that nobody garners the least bit of sympathy, nobody is a convincing badass and absolutely nobody embodies an interesting character in any way, pulls the film down to simply being boring and unengaging.

Romero fucks up his film even further by employing cheap CGI and uninspired and misplaced humor, rendering the end result one of the uttermost uninspired crapfests I’ve ever experienced. Survival of The Dead goes beyond bad, because of it’s context, though. I mean, this guy used to pack a punch, we all know that! So what the fuck happened!? I still don’t know who or what to blame for the collective downfall of my teenage icons, but I know that in George Romero the fallen ones just got a new bunkmate. I haven’t felt this ridiculed since watching the shitpiles of his contemporaries as mentioned above. You have broken my heart George Romero, and I never thought I’d be saying that to a 70-year old man.

Rating: 1/5 Skulls

Screened at CPH:PIX 2010