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Diary of the Dead (2007)
Decent, but definitely Romero's worst
As a hardcore Romero dead fan, I was sorta disappointed by this film. Contrary to what a lot of other posters are saying, I actually thought the actors did a good job- with the script they were given. The problem with the casting was their similarity; a group of film students in their junior or senior year of college. There's not an ugly one in the bunch. This is not like Romero, normally he has quite a diverse group of actors. Also, the hand-held camera worked pretty well, I thought, and was ten times better that Blair Witch.
Now the bad stuff Understanding this movie depends completely upon a viewer's knowledge of the first 2 or 3 movies. The scariest thing about NOTLD was the characters' slow realization of what was happening to the world, based on what they were seeing from inside the farmhouse plus the radio and television. In Diary, one minute these kids are filming a college movie in the Pennsylvania woods at 11pm, when one of them hears a radio broadcast stating (you guessed it), the dead are coming back. Not a wave of mass homicide, not a series of unexplained murders, not mass hysteria, but ladies and gentleman, the zombies are here. One kid, apparently the only other one there with his own car, says that he's heard enough, and the exodus begins. With only a minimum of development (a zombie state trooper at the scene of an accident) the young characters and their professor are fleeing across the state in one of the kid's RV. (Just what is a Ph. D of an east coast university doing in the woods with his students at 11pm with no car of his own?) From there, they cover a lot of ground for a Romero movie; an abandoned hospital, a college dorm, a warehouse wherein a group of survivors are hiding, an Amish farm, one of the girl's homes, a highway robbery and finally the grand finale, one of the rich kid's parents' mansion.
Somehow, within a few hours of the start of the plague, the hospital has become a ghost town, the National Guard has turned into degenerate highway robbers, and there's not another car on the roads. There's no police presence, no ambulances rushing anywhere, and just about no other survivors anywhere (other than dynamite toting Amish farmers). By the first morning, it appears we have gone from Night to Land with no Dawn or Day.
I must say that the final 20 minutes is what hurt this movie big time. The kids and their savvy professor have been chased all over creation by zombies, watching their fellow students cut down one after another, and now, when they have a walled fortress to hide in, they don't even try to lock the gate?!? Or even shut the house door? And the rich kid having shoved the zombies into the pool was the stupidest thing I've ever seen Romero do. Then to make matters worse, this same kid, who initially bursts out of the panic room overjoyed to see his friends just falls down and dies 30 minutes later from a bite previously received and goes on a killing spree in the house. In the previous films, when a main character gets bit you watch a slow drama as he/she succumbs to the wound while everyone else waits for the inevitable.
Romero seems to have lost his ability to instill that sense of dread that was so thick in the first 3 movies. This script needed help.
Day of the Dead (2008)
Not as bad as everyone is saying
I was expecting this movie to be a disaster, based on what everyone else was saying. But after watching it twice, I must say it was better than expected.
The plot was about what you would expect from a zombie movie, and nobody ever said that Romero's movies were overly complex. There was some cheesy and inconsistent dialog (the crooked doctor ridiculing the young troops for their incompetence, then defending the wounded boy when he's about to be killed by his fellow soldier, then abandons them all without a second thought a few seconds later?) The depiction of the military was very poor (license plates on Humvees, Captains supervising Corporals, etc) but that is to be expected in most movies wherein our armed forces are represented. Please note, DOTD 2004 did a pretty poor job in this area as well (a 3-star general with a totally messed up beret making a media statement, come on!!) I thought the actors actually did a pretty good job in this movie. They were almost universally young, good looking unrecognizables and the way they portrayed their private first class characters was believable.
The zombies climbing on the ceilings and other acrobatics were not as annoying as some have made them out to be. The way the "Bud" character was handled a little on the lame side, but I have a feeling that was a last minute script change after the director realized he would otherwise have to kill off the most likable character very early on in the movie.
Anyway, this is not an attempt to redo Romero's 1985 work, but is a decent stand-alone, low budget horror film. Give it a chance.
Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
A BIG disappointment
I don't see how anyone could compare RE: Extinction with the first two in this series. In addition to a lack of plot altogether, there are more holes in RE:3 than a golf course and more ripoffs of other movies than I've ever seen. The characters are so undeveloped that most shouldn't even have come equipped with names. Both Olivera and LJ, who were the two leading males in the 2nd movie, are without energy and lack inspiration. The vehicles were outright ripoffs from Road Warrior, especially in the desert setting. In fact, you really get the idea pretty quickly that this movie is set in a desert to save money, whereas the first two movies obviously were pretty expensive in the setting department. Umbrella's board of directors, who meet several times in the flick in an underground bunker, appear to be of the under thirty variety; perhaps they are the descendants of the former management. The bunker is a shameless ripoff of Day of the Dead. The zombie scenes are actually very limited, with few traditional up close yet slow battle scenes. Mostly the zombies in RE:3 jump out of closets with ferocious speed and bite somebody. There are running zombies in this movie, which do not fit the sequence at all.
In general, this was a very poor finale to a good series.