Horror Film Reviews: Diary Of The Dead By George A Romero
Diary Of The Dead
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Back To The Beginning - Diary Of The Dead
It's back to basics with this zombie film from the classic zombie horror director George A Romero, in this sort of prequel we go back to the original happening of the zombie crisis as it unfolds, although this is not a straight back to the sixties affair just like the original it is set in present times to coincide with the Internet and media age so that it reflects our reliance on the news, the Internet and cameras being part of our daily lives.
And what is quite good in terms of a new approach( or as new as it could what with other films doing it!) is the point of view perspective being present throughout this film, this filming story point technique makes it seem like some of our characters are holding a camcorder whilst participating in the action and unfolding drama and I am a fan of this method of experimental film making as you get more involved in the story somewhat with it becoming more personal from actual viewpoints.
Diary of the dead focuses on a group of teenagers and a professor who when we first see them are making a cheesy horror film about a shambling mummy stalking a girl through the woods, everything is quite predictable it seems in these zombie films though and then at the next moment we hear of some people dying on the radio, sort of like an Orson welles moment and then the bodies just get up it is announced by the radio news reporter.
Right at the start of the film you see a piece of news footage that shows what seems like a disturbance at an apartment block, a few people have died, and then they come alive(or dead!) whilst the police and the paramedics arrive, a few shots are fired and some quick thinkers say shoot them in the head. A gruesome death of one of the women reporters saw her getting her full mouth ripped off out of shot which was a superb piece of make up, if only we had seen it through a real camera instead of a TV reporter style camera that gave it that grainy quality.
This part of the news footage reminded me of the original Dawn of the dead film where in an apartment block again a clean up crew is sent to treat a zombie outbreak, like this film dealt with multiple themes like consumerism and all that, Diary of the dead deals with us as humans and how we are apparently no different than the zombies, whilst this is a good idea equal out the humans and the zombies you kind of feel sorry for the zombies in a way and then most of the human characters in the story, you couldn't give a toss about as most of them are tossers anyhow!
As is the case with many zombie films the survivors end up cornered in a building or in this case a rich boys mansion and get picked off even quicker due to this formulaic approach to so called survival instincts, at least in Land of the dead the survivors in that story kept on the road, which gave it more hope, just like in Day of the dead(the original that is!) when the survivors end up an island after flying in a helicopter to escape from the zombies at that military base.
Diary of the dead didn't give that same hope for the characters, but within the back story it did however assume that some where in the future at least the tape of the whole zombie story that the teenagers began to film through their ordeal got out, or it could have been just a diary in a sense of they didn't make it in the end...who knows. In the end the story does not matter it's the way we act and the things we do that are embedded within this horror film and to me that is more scary than zombies.
All in all this was a great film, but once you've seen one zombie film you can predict what's going to happen and well zombie are zombies they just look cool.
There are some unique zombie death scenes I might add, two of the best include an amish old man gets bitten by a zombie and he has this scythe and so e plunges it through his own head and the other end goes through the zombies head too...ha ha cool!
The other one is when one of the characters gets attacked by a zombie and the professor dude plunges a sword through the zombies head and slices upwards and it's head just splits open...Classic!