When there's no more room in HELL, the dead will walk the Earth..and actually make a bad George A. Romero film. I really hate saying that only because if it hadn't been for George Romero's DEAD films, I don't think I'd be the robot that I am today. Here's a guy who actually fueled some of my worst nightmares about the end of the world, and being torn apart and eaten alive by people whom I've partied with! BOGUS! Hell, a good 80% of everything I own, video games, comics, death metal, dvd's, actual books with words, and hell, even this one porno I have on VHS, all have been inspired by George Romero's films! That's why it brings me no pleasure sharing with you my two cents on the latest George A. Romero film strangely entitled, "Survival of the Dead" or what I call, "Family Feud vs The Dead." (I know the films been out forever, but I got this disc late dammit!)
Set after the events of Diary of the Dead, we're reintroduced to that jerk of a national guardsmen last seen in Diary, Sergeant Crockett "Sarge" (played by Alan Van Sprang). Sarge give us a recap on what's been going on with all the undead shenanigans and we're shown the scene where he rips off those annoying protagonist from Diary. The film then jumps on over to Plum island, somewhere off the coast of Delaware, and we're introduced to two feuding families, the O'Flynns and the Muldoons. The O'Flynns lead by Patrick O'Flynn (played by Kenneth Welsh, and one of the bright spots of the movie) believes just like the rest of us, that once you're dead, you get a nice bullet in the head. The Muldoons, led by Seamus Muldoon (played by Richard Fitzpatrick) believe in keeping their expired loved ones around until there's some kind of miracle cure for this zombie epidemic, those dumb asses. Patrick O'Flynn gets voted off the island where he later runs into Sarge and his merry men and one horny lesbian chick. They end up taking O'Flynn's ass right back to the island after a gunfight, peppered with those dead dudes, in hopes that things may not be so crazy. And of coarse they're wrong...DEAD WRONG! Hey, that would have been a better title!!!
My biggest problem with this film is that no one treats the walking dead as a serious threat, they're just...in the way, and I hate that! They're not the vicious, force of nature eating machines that I remember in Night, Dawn, Day, and hell, even in Land of the Dead. These dead seem domesticated for some reason and you literally see this in the film. When the film does this, it loses all it's tension and sense of dread. The dead here are nothing more than props for bad cg (computer generated) gore gags. I'm shocked that Carrot Top hasn't pulled a zombie out of his ass and incorporated it into his bullshit comedy act. Great, I just made his act good. On top of that major complaint, the film is also plagued with bad acting and pointless narration. Sarge and his men really serve no real purpose to the story and you're left wondering why they were even in the movie to begin with. It would have been a better film if Sarge and his men were replaced with Sheriff Buford T. Justice and his son Junior.
Junior: That zombie tried to eat my hat daddy.
Buford T. Justice: I hope your goddamn head was in it!
Buford T. Justice: Nobody, and I mean NOBODY makes Sheriff Buford T. Justice look like a possum's pecker.
Junior: Except for that...
Buford: Shut your ass.
There's just no one to identify with besides the zombies who look as bored as you'll be during some of this film. I hate saying that this is a regurgitated Day of the Dead "western", and sure, there were really no likable characters in Day, but you knew all those characters were in their own personal hell with no real light at the end of the tunnel, trapped like rats in a powder keg ready to go off, and when it did, it was EPIC! Survival had none of that. It did have a zombie riding a horse though. It's still not the worst zombie movie I've seen and believe me, I've owned them all and sold them to dumb ass kids who still think that Transformers is the best movie EVER! There are some fun moments in Survival, like the shoot out at the fishing shop that provided some genuine laughs and some real fun zombie action, plus Kenneth Walsh's great acting, but that's about it, sadly.
The double disc dvd I received has a fun audio commentary by the master himself, George A. Romero (yes, he's still a master in my eyes) along with Kenneth Walsh, which is pretty fun to listen to. On disc 2 there's a "Walking After Midnight" documentary where you'll get to see George do his thing from the beginning of the production to the end and hear his candid insight on the genre he created. There's even a running joke about the movie not having a "real" title besides "? of the Dead" in which George gets frustrated as to why his movies need "of the dead" in the title to begin with. There's a "Sarge" short film that you can skip. Thirteen behind the scenes shorts, a storyboard comparison...yay, and a fun, "How to create your own Zombie Bite" segment.
To sum this up, after watching some of the behind the scenes features after the film's premiere, you can get a sense that George didn't get to make the film he really wanted to make and that's too bad. You can tell he's someone who really cares and wants to deliver the goods to the fans, but doesn't want to tread on old ground. He states that he does have plans for two more zombie films and he hopes he can live long enough to make them happen. Sure, Survival may not be a great film by today's zombie standards, but I think he still has one more good story to tell, and I know I'll be waiting in line to see it. I always am. I'm rooting for you George ol' pal! You're the only friend I got!
COME ON BABY! We're gonna miss George's new flick!