Diary Of The Dead is a film in which George A. Romero tackles the
digital age, and the information barrage that it brings us. Rolling
news, Youtube, Podcasts, Myspace are the media of choice for an era
where information is global, instant and 24/7. It is in this climate
that the 'Dead' franchise gets the Blair Witch Project. We follow a
group of young film students who find themselves having to band
together after the dead start returning to life. Seeing the magnitude
of the event a few of the troupe take it upon themselves to record a
document of their plight for survival. It is this 'life through a lens'
that gives us Diary Of The Dead.
To expand on the cataclysmic events Romero uses footage from news channels, video blogs and web cams. The accessibility of the Internet mirrors the wildfire decline of humanity as the zombies take over and society collapses. However if there is one thing that defines this Internet era, it is short attention spans.
Sadly this pandering to the Youtube generation is what seems to sum up 'Diary'. The strength behind the previous 'Dead' movies was that the survivors were stationary and holed up (whether it be in a shopping mall or bunker). As such it was the banality of their existence that became even more unnerving than the zombie threat. In 'Diary' the action is kinetic and the editing very fast-paced, as if Romero is keen to hold the short attention span of a young audience that now lives off 1 minute video clips, and skim-read 'Wikipedia' articles. As such the characters never stay in the same place for more than 5 minutes, as the scene hopping goes into overdrive.
I'm sad to say that 'Diary' smacks of compromise. Romero inserts his typical biting social commentary, but it's often blunted by a desire to make the film palatable enough to younger generations and audiences. Trying to make reflective points about humanity when they're delivered by identikit good-looking young actors (who look more suited to being in 'The O.C') feels akin to having 'Hamlet' read out by Lindsay Lohan.
Also Romero's hand seems forced to add the checklist of 'teen' horror clichés.
'Gross Out' deaths- Check
Ditzy Blonde Girl- Check
Older 'world weary' authority figure- Check (The professor)
Zombie jumping out from side of frame- Check
Big scary mansion finale- Check
Despite its' flaws, 'Diary Of The Dead' is worth seeing simply for the glimmerings of Romero's post 9/11 views. Ironically, it is modern culture that not only embraces 'Diary' but also forces Romero to dumb down. 'Diary' is a flawed, experimental film from Romero, however a flawed Romero is far more challenging and interesting than 99% of the competition. An honorable 'miss' of a film that sees the master of zombie movies bound by the requirements of commercial success.
Diary of the Dead
Action / Horror
Diary of the Dead
Action / Horror
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.
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October 03, 2012 at 05:07 AM