The independent film circuit isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire with their zombie horror fare lately. That’s a shame too considering there are so many bright voices out there that could re-invent the formula, and deliver something massive. “Survivorz” is low budget, routine, mediocre, repetitive zombie apocalypse fodder that feels like a dull video game, and never quite takes advantage of its setting. It’s set in London England but that’s really all the movie has to offer in the way of change of scenery.
2009’s action horror comedy “Zombieland” is something of a cult classic, and while not exactly a masterpiece, it’s been admired in its own right for a decade. After many, many years, Columbia brings us a sequel that’s probably way too late. After fans demanded a sequel shortly after the release of the 2009 film, “Zombieland: Double Tap” finally graces us with the characters we love—and it does absolutely nothing new with them. It also doesn’t take us in to any kind of new area of Zombieland that we haven’t seen before, which ends in disappointing returns in a follow up with occasional bright spots.
The making of “Night of the Living Dead” 1990 has become one of the most fascinating movie making tales of all time. George Romero teamed up with friend Tom Savini to direct an official remake of his 1968 horror masterpiece. What Savini found was no end of interference, intrusion and creative stifling from the studio that funded the film. Despite excellent creativity and clever ideas to bring to the table, horror icon Savini was turned off from filmmaking for so many years, and he wasn’t able to deliver the film he actually wanted. Ironically, “Night…” 1990 is widely considered a top shelf remake of the original, and is argued to be superior to Romero’s by some horror buffs.
In a year that nearly everyone across the board has admitted to being a weak one for films in general 2009’s “Survival of the Dead” continues to stand out among the mediocrity and abysmal for its sheer down to Earth storytelling in the saga of the Dead where Romero is completing a second chapter in his Dead franchise. We had “Night,” “Dawn,” “Day,” and “Land,” and now to fit in with modern society, Romero has restarted the whole premise and entire sensibility with “Diary,” and “Survival” showing the downfall of a world, now very dependent on technology and the world wide web. “Diary” is a movie that continues to be misunderstood.
So “Zombi 3” is technically “Zombi 2” while “Zombi 2” is technically “Zombi” if you cut out “Dawn of the Dead” which was renamed “Zombi.” It’s a confusing rabbit hole that goes so deep, you’ll pass out from the confusion. In either case, Bruno Mattei’s (Lucio Fulci’s? Claudio Fragrasso’s?) “Zombi 3” is one of those so bad it’s good zombie films that I didn’t hate. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a history with it, but I kind of loved how aimless “Zombi 3” was with its zero plot, paper thin characters and the way it meanders back and forth.
It’s October once again! Finally! It’s our favorite time of year, a time where we can drown in horror and genre cinema without coming up for air. For the return of “Shorts Round Up of the Week” I bring you the Halloween edition, where I review short films of the horror, thriller, and dark fantasy variety. Hopefully we can dig up a second edition of this column before the month is up.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
Happy October, boils and ghouls.
I have to say that I liked “The Dead Don’t Die.” It feels a lot like Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die” doesn’t just seem to feel like his effort to give his own spin to the sub-genre, but it also feels like the proving ground for the man to be as bizarre and often stupid as he possibly can. With “The Dead Don’t Die” it’s a bit of an experimental and bizarre zombie comedy that has absolutely no breaks on. It throws everything at the wall to see what sticks, from terrible breaking of the fourth wall, clunky symbolism (chairs that look like tombstones! Hah! Get it?), sub-plots that go nowhere, and space ships.
It’s really tough to discuss Shin’ichirô Ueda’s excellent horror comedy “One Cut of the Dead” without completely deflating its sheer brilliance for someone that’s never seen it. The less you know about the premise going in to “One Cut of the Dead,” the more you’ll likely be very entertained by what unfolds. I knew almost nothing but the bare essentials and by the time the credits rolled, I was ready to put it in my top ten of 2019. Spoilers ahead.