I enjoy watching zombie movies and I'd heard a lot about this one before I managed to get my hands on a copy. Some people had told me it was a classic of low budget filmmaking, others had warned me it was an absolute steaming pile of zombie pap. Now, having finally watched it, I don't think it's either of these things.
The acting is bland in general, with the exception of veteran British actor Richard Johnson (looking a bit out of place, but having a great time hamming it up as the slightly mad Dr. Menard) and smirky Roger Moore look-alike Ian McCulloch. Al Cliver isn't too bad as a tough-guy tourist caught up in the zombie infestation, Tisa Farrow (yes, that's Mia's little sis) drifts through much of the movie looking distant and dazed, and Auretta Gay (they must have given her a hard time at school) takes her top off a lot but spends the rest of the time either over- or under-acting.
The plot isn't much to speak of but it holds the attention, and considering the directors other horror movies, it's a miracle there actually is one. The ending annoyingly blunts any disturbing edge the film may have built up towards the end, and drags the movie fully into the realm of cheesiness. The lack of enough real tension and suspense among the pumping blood, punctured eyeballs and blazing gunfire is pretty disappointing too. That said, the action scenes are genuinely exciting (despite being kinda slow in coming) and the climatic sequence in Dr. Menard's hospital with the invading zombies vs. humans is quite enjoyable.
Overall, I found that all this was not quite as horrifying as reputation suggests, probably because of it's age, lack of tension, or my stamina to being scared/disgusted. The memorable parts a battle between a zombie and a shark, and a graphic tracheotomy, (to name just two) easily make it worth the rental, plus some good special effects really caught my interest. Just don't expect much intelligence here that you'd find in Romero's undead flicks. On the whole, it's not brilliant, but it fits respectfully in this genre.