"Diary of the Dead" is the fifth installment in George Romero's zombie cannon which started off with 1968's genre-defining "Night of the Living Dead", was updated brilliantly and surpassed by the 1978 sequel "Dawn of the Dead", which was also nearly (but not quite) upstaged by 1985's excellent "Day of the Dead". This trilogy proved that when it came to zombies, George could do no wrong. In 2005 Romero returned with the 20 years in the waiting "Land of the Dead" a film, which was met with very mixed fan reaction. I personally liked Land of the Dead and dug it for what it was. We couldn't expect George to make movies look as though it was still 1985 could we?
Story: In Diary, a group of college students from Pitt University flee from campus after a zombie outbreak. They hit the road in a big hippy-style van so they can go back home and be with their (hopefully still alive?) loved ones. One of the students named Jason decides to film all of the events and broadcast on-line for the world to see. The film thus plays out as a sort of web-cam unfolding of events.
My initial reaction on hearing about the premise of Romero's new zombie opus was not necessarily a negative one. Sure, the shaky-camera, reality thing has been played out for years now but I gave Romero the benefit of the doubt because it wouldn't be the first time he reinvents himself through these films. Although all of them are zombie films, "Night" is radically different from "Dawn" which is radically different from "Land". So in Diary, Romero is not settling but continuing to reinvent himself. But oh, how poorly this is executed! Nearly everything in this film is an absolute mess. The CGI head shots that make us crave for Tom Savini. The dreadful "social commentary" about how we are now all a bunch of media-obsessed, blogging, self-promoters. What a fine observation of modern culture George! And the acting....the most frustrating part is not knowing if the atrocious wooden acting is due to a puke-poor cast or if Romero wanted it to look this way intentionally to play in with his "reality" concept. I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt George, but after watching this wreck I've given up all hope.
Is this the worst movie ever? Certainly not, there are heaps of b-horror trash way worse than this. But one thing's for sure, this movie will never elicit repeat viewings the way Romero's other zombie films did. Even those who liked this movie, I refuse to believe for one second that they would see the need to sit through this again for multiple viewings. It's sad to think that throughout the nineties I kept hoping, praying, Romero would finally have the green light to make more zombie films. Now? I just want him to stop...
One thing I've noticed reading through these reviews is that no one seems to be debating this simple point: If Romero's name wasn't attached to this, would we have anyone defending this movie as being a "masterpiece" or have a single 5-star rating on this board? No way, this would be discarded as a by-the-numbers 2-star zombie straight-to-DVD fodder and nothing more. Blind worship I say...Read more ›
I thought the film was okay but I know to myself it will never be my favorite out of the bunch. Though it was a documentary I didn't quite catch it as one or for the majority of the film. In here we have a film crew that made up of different characters: The director Jason (Joshua Close) who acts though he believes that if it didn't happen on camera, then it never happened at all. There's his girlfriend Debra (Michelle Morgan) who gets increasingly annoyed with his filming everybody, Tony (Shawn Roberts) who looks like he is prepared to beat Jason to death, and there's even the drunken film professor Maxwell (Scott Wentworth) who looks upon everything with a bemused attachment. What George Romero succeeds in doing as a writer is give us characters who aren't simple types and break those clichés to become increasingly unpredictable in their actions.
Which is one of Romero's strong attributes is that he gives us strong characters with females and minorities. He started doing this a long time ago with "Night Of The Living Dead," and it continues on with this one. The female character that comes across as the strongest here is Debra, played by Michelle Morgan. She is driven to get back to her family who are back at home, and she is not about to get sucked into watching things through a camera lens. Michelle gives the strongest performance in the movie, and she also narrates the movie within the movie, so you have a pretty good idea of what happens to her character. The group does run into a squad of African Americans who have taken over a small town and all its supplies, and who refuse to leave the town. This is because for once, they have power over something that they have never had before, and you could see it as a sort of revenge against the white man for all they have put their people through.
The movie does have its share of good scares, and has that same morbid humor that has been present in all of Romero's "Dead" movies. This does make this film relevant in a way even after four decades after the very first one. The last scene in the movie questions the audience directly as to if we as a race are really worth saving or not. That scene will stay with you long after the movie has ended because the characters have only started to learn how to exist in a post-zombie world (shades of 9/11 do abound here and there).
The suspense was there along with the blood and gore, it was giving to us in a fair dose though not quite on the same level as "Dawn" or "Day." Still, there are some good kills throughout, and the characters make good use of a scythe and a bow and arrow. Romero, after all these years, doesn't skimp on the good stuff. However, it still takes these characters way too long to figure out that the best way to defeat a zombie is to shoot it in the head. Aside from that I was slightly disappointed with this film or documentary. I'm thinking there may be room for another one Romero zombie yet, and there is hope to be had in that even if the world is still falling apart. I wouldn't mind seeing him do one more, but I hope it comes out before the apocalypse hits us.Read more ›
this movie,was aweful shot like the blair witch project,except with zombies,ppl running around with stedicams.so if u liked witch,u are welcome to this garabage movie.and ilike george remero movies,this movie i didnt!