Day of the Dead (2008)
What can you say about "Day of the Dead" from 2008, the remake of George Romero's 1985 horror classic, well it's full of blood, guts and violence which I am sure will appeal to a select few blood thirsty zombie fans, but other than that it's messy and I am not just talking about the blood splattering action. From the annoying, head spinning editing, terrible casting, storyline or lack of it and just about everything else Steve Miner's "Day of the Dead" is a rather dull remake which compared to other remakes of George Romero's zombie horrors such as Zack Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead" should be avoided.
When Leadville, Colorado suddenly becomes infected by some mysterious flu like bug, Captain Rhodes (Ving Rhames) is called in with a small army to quarantine the town. One of his officers, Corporal Sarah Bowman (Mena Suvari) was raised in Leadville and still has family their leading her to venture in to try and find them. But when the flu like bug mutates turning all those infected into man eating zombies Sarah, her brother and a couple of friends must run and battle for their lives as they discover all is not as it seems.
One of the major issues with "Day of the Dead" is that for a movie which is not overly long at just 86 minutes it takes nearly an hour to get going. It starts slowly as it sort of sets the scene, the town thrown into quarantine where people are falling suddenly ill and Corporal Sarah Bowman part of the quarantine team who just happens to have family there. But that's not the only issue because once it does get going it's not really a zombie horror, there are only a few frights as it turns into more of a zombie action movie. The whole thing is rather dull and with the slowness of the build up it's far too easy to grow bored before anything happens.
It doesn't help that instead of creating a tense atmosphere where we have people fighting to save themselves from the zombies it turns into a rather in your face yet dull action movie. As such we get scene after scene of violence where the plucky survivors battle zombies with guns and make shift weapons all of which end in various major blood baths. It just doesn't work or at least not for me, I found myself numb to all the in your face zombie bashing with none of the special effects where a zombie gets decapitated really wowing me and most certainly not frightening me.
As special effects go "Day of the Dead" certainly has a very professional look with the make up of the zombies being quite impressive. But after you've seen one zombie with there body shredded you've seen them all and the effect wears off. It doesn't help that for some strange reason Miner's zombies seem to have more intelligence than we are use to and I swear some seem to have gained super powers. It just feels wrong and the fear of zombies chasing you is never present because the whole thing is too in your face as if so much money was spent on the zombies that they get more screen time and I mean close up screen time than is needed. Especially when it comes to a chase scene in the air ducts which seems to be imitating a Terminator movie.
Adding to the misery is the whole styling of "Day of the Dead" with Steve Miner employing snappy, sped up editing which may appeal to an MTV generation but annoys the hell out of me. It's just messy and not really that stylish either as we get an onslaught of quick spurts of film before it slows down again.
And finally there is the casting and although Ving Rhames gets a major billing he might as well not have turned up for what is a small role where he looks tough and that's about it. As for everyone else well sorry but it's too hard to take Mena Suvari seriously when it comes to being Corporal Sarah Bowman the tough army officer. Suvari is lovely but not in my wildest dreams does she emit the tough talking action lead that the movie needed. Michael Welch as her brother Trevor does little better and Nick Cannon as Salazar seems to be trying to deliver a mixture of Jamie Foxx and Will Smith in his tough talking role.
What this all boils down to is that "Day of the Dead" pretty much sucks. It's a failure not only as a remake but also as a zombie horror and really struggles to keep you entertained. It will appeal to some who like fast paced snappy edits and mass zombie mutilation but other than some decent make up there is very little to wow you.