Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
While filming a horror movie of mummy in a forest, the students and their professor of the University of Pittsburgh hear on the TV the news that the dead are awaking and walking. Ridley and Francine decide to leave the group, while Jason heads to the dormitory of his girlfriend Debra Monahan. She does not succeed in contacting her family and they travel in Mary's van to the house of Debra's parents in Scranton, Pennsylvania. While driving her van, Mary sees a car accident and runs over a highway patrolman and three other zombies trying to escape from them. Later the religious Mary is depressed, questioning whether the victims where really dead, and tries to commit suicide, shooting herself with a pistol. Her friends take her to a hospital where they realize that the dead are indeed awaking and walking and they need to fight to survive while traveling to Debra's parents house.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I really dislike the whole "found footage" genre, and I wish it would finally die. Luckily, this movie doesn't quite fit 100% into that genre, but it's close enough that I got fairly annoyed. Diary of the Dead is basically about some film school kids documenting the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, and thus it's more of a fake documentary than anything else. Unlike some movies shot in this style, one of the main themes involves criticism of the obsessive need to document everything rather than actually participating. There are also some shots at censorship, social media, and the propaganda potential for the mainstream media.
Unfortunately, Diary of the Dead feels like a watered-down reboot of his classic franchise, modernized and targeted at teenagers, with the requisite group of stereotypical dumb ass characters found in every direct-to-video slasher movie. The social criticism is blatant and lacks subtlety, and Romero resorts to outright lecturing the audience. I generally agree with Romero, but I prefer his older movies. He's never been particularly subtle, but this is just too overt and generic for my taste. He comes off as having been inspired by soulless ripoffs of his own work.
It's one of Romero's worst movies, but that still makes it better than much of the crap that litters the horror landscape. Hopefully, if we get any more movies from Romero, they'll be as uncompromising and powerful as his earlier work, but it seems as though Romero has had some real problems getting funding. Watered-down, mainstream Romero is better than no Romero, but it's difficult to recommend. This may be a good introduction to his material for younger audiences, though.
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