Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dead On Arrival (Day Of The Dead)

This Week In Movies: The Evil Dead (interesting to see again after watching the remake), The Avengers (still just as great as when I watched it in the cinema, and I still refuse to call it Avengers Assemble), Iron Man 3 (just like Iron Man 2, enjoyable yet can't help but feel disappointed after watching it) and Star Trek Into Darkness (so good that I can't believe it's a Star Trek flick).

After last week's blog post, I was planning to watch the entire Evil Dead trilogy, in the hope that it would inspire me to write a future article relating to the series, including the remake (which I doubt I'll getting around to writing at this time). It was too bright to start watching all three of them, so I decided on watching the first one before going to bed. While going through the American version of Netflix, I saw one film that I've been meaning to check out has an expiry date in two days. And as it sort of relates to the previous article, I thought I would give it a shot.

It's been years since I've seen the original Day Of The Dead, so I do have a vague recollection of what happened in that film. Maybe it's because I see the pros and cons of George A. Romero's "Dead" movies, but in relation to this weeks film, I was actually a fan of the Dawn Of The Dead remake. Before viewing this, I found out that this film (Day) had nothing to do with that (Dawn). Which can be confusing, considering both starred Ving Rhames.

So with no expectations or any knowledge of what people thought of it (although I predicted bad, since  it never got a cinematic release, compared to Dawn Of The Dead), I might as well take the opportunity to watch it before it disappears off Netflix.


87 minutes later.....

You know, I may not have gone to see Warm Bodies in the cinema a while back, but I bet that was a better zombie movie than this pile of garbage. This has to be the worst zombie film I have ever seen, even worse than Diary Of The Dead (of which a friend of mine was so bored in the cinema that she started reading a book during it). At least with that film I did understood what George A. Romero was trying to accomplish, even though it was a pretty poor attempt. This one was just.....poor.

This film only has two recognisable faces, and both of them are poorly misused (maybe three if you include Ian McNeice, but even I had to look up his name). Ving Rhames plays such a minor role that I'm convinced that the makers of this film decided to cast him just to confuse the audience to thinking this is linked to the decent Dawn Of The Dead remake. Considering the lack of acting talent on display (bar Ian McNeice and one actress who went on to star in Excision, from last year's Horrorthon), it was a complete waste of time to misuse one of the film's big names.

The second star is Mena Suvari in the lead role, who is unbelievably miscast as an army officer. Disregarding her looks, I found it extremely difficult in taking her seriously as someone from the military considering her attitude and her height. Not to mention that she doesn't carry a loaded weapon, and when asked why, she says "it's complicated", suggesting that at some point later on it will be explained. But nope, this is never explained, and neither is some sibling rift with her brother involving bikes.

There are plenty examples of shoddy writing throughout the movie, especially when it comes to character motivations. One minute Mena Suvari is a sensitive pacifist who shows sympathy for the undead and refuses to partake in violence. The next minute, she's shooting and running over everyone in sight. The soldier character called Salazar constantly switches from pop culture referencing geek, to a stereotypical pissed off black guy, to obnoxious jerk, to history buff. They're about as consistent as the characters in Prometheus.

I could go on about the other characters, but since they're all dull and unlikable, there's no point. I could mention more about the shoddy writing (when the first bodies were said to be found in a closet, but were clearly hiding behind curtains), especially when the film itself gives up towards the end, as to say "f**k it" (explanation why other people were not infected; just luck). Even the lead up to the final zombie threat was just rushed without any build up (including the dumbest takedown of a villain I've seen in a zombie movie).

But the key factor to this film are the zombies themselves. While they fall into the category as runners, for this film, the faces morph into torn off skin, and they have the superhuman ability to jump long distances and run up walls and ceilings, helped by the fact that their actions are sped up on camera. As a throwback to the original film, there is the idea that the human part of the zombies are hidden away in their mind, hence parts of their personality and logic are still present. Which results in the greatest sin ever committed to a zombie film is the introduction of the "vegetarian zombie".

That's right, a VEGETARIAN ZOMBIE. Which means that he wont eat any humans as he didn't eat meat when he was alive. As soon as this was revealed one hour into the film, I just gave up and wished for it to end. And forget all criticisms about Warm Bodies destroying the zombie mythos in the way Twilight ruined vampires. This film already did the whole "zombie boy in love with human girl" angle, with Veggie holding a torch for Mena Suvari just as he did before he was bitten. And this wasn't aimed at the pre-teen market, but it may as well went along with the love story, as it couldn't have gotten any worse.


Now that I think about it, I don't even remember seeing George A. Romero's name in the opening or closing credits. If it is absent, and I didn't just blink and miss it, then it may as well stay that way. This film fails at not only in its depiction of zombies, but in its link to the original film by title alone, no matter what little references are thrown in (including the horde of machine gun wielding zombies).

I am baffled by how idiotic this film is. Casting, script, logic, character, even the goddamn zombies were wrong. They acted more like vampires than they did zombies, and it would have made sense since the majority of this film takes place at night. It reminded me of Stakeland, where the vampires in that film acted more like zombies. But whereas Stakeland was actually good despite the questionable use of the vampire, this film deserves a bullet to the head for its sheer stupidity.

And on a final note.....

There was only one scene that I found somewhat funny, and that was when the DJ Paul (played by Ian McNeice) threatened to play Celine Dion over the airwaves to torture a soldier who was supervising him in the radio station. It reminded me of something I did in a rock bar years ago. I picked a couple of songs from the jukebox, and when the barman turned up the music while a Tool song was playing, I started laughing. When my mates were asking me why, I said nothing until they found out what the next song was (see below). The barman skipped to the next song halfway through, but I had my fun, and that's all that matters.

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