Sunday, 13 September 2009
Oh dreadful future! Ten years ago I could never have foreseen a day in which I would prefer George Romero to just stop making reanimated dead movies. After an unimpeachable first trilogy, the second movement has erred bowel. It simply isn't fair. Let's recap: Land of the Dead was a stunt-cast mismatch of Romero politicking and budget studio monster mashing. The herd-think shufflers had an agreeable revolutionary underclass vibe, but it was impossible to shake that cheapy feature malaise. Disinterest suffused the film. Diary of the Dead was a shade better. Personally, I could forgive the endless self-analytical prattle because Romero finally got to weave a rotting mansion scenario. The third act was a mini-movie of Resident Evil, a property previous denied to the ageing Romero, that found its way into the hands of anti-auteur Paul WS Anderson. Wilful fanboyism aside, it simply wasn't in the same league as its originators.
Which brings us to Survival of the Dead (previously known as either Island of the Dead, or the definitives baiting ...Of the Dead). The film is still in production, so it seems a little unfair to slander the made-for-TV mise en scene. Romero et al could whisk up some killer filters in the edit suite, couldn't they? Best then to concentrate on the dispiritingly wide-shot anti-impact that frames a tale of boring faith farmers defending their homesteads. In case that got you snoozing, there's a bearded military action doll haunting the fringes walloping kids. Internet vapour press releases hard sell the idea that the characters are (fruitlessly?) searching for a cure. Hmm. I ain't seeing doctors. Hopefully, I'm all wrong and Romero ends up weaving a queasy treatise on man's relationship to God in the context of an apocalypse. This trail ain't convincing though.