Diary of the Dead (2007)


Apologies for the lack of movie reviews. I’ve been prepping to move to Korea, and that’s a bit more important than talking about how much I hate witches. Which is a lot.


But I have tried to watch some horror films this season, so here I’m going to rattle off reviews from the top of my head like I used to do back in the day. Before I felt the need to imdv every actor’s name and make sure I understood stuff. Kind of drains the fun out of a silly pastime.

I’ve watched Geogre Romero’s Diary of the Dead before; I think it was the year I reviewed the two Troll films. I don’t remember thinking too highly of it then, so maybe the seven intervening years have either a.) softened me up, or b.) improved the film. I’m not ashamed to say, I rather like the movie now.

Diary of the Dead has Romero abandoning his tired plot device of scaling the zombie action. In Night of the Living Dead it was individual families fighting the zombies. In Dawn of the Dead it was sects: the survivors versus the zombies versus the outlaws. Day of the Dead broadened the scope further: the military versus the dead. And Land of the Dead reached the zenith with a war between the upper class, the lower class, and the dead.

Let’s face it, Night… and Dawn of the Dead are stone cold classics, Day of the Dead is beloved now, but back in the day no one cared much for it, and no one ever mentions Land. The well had gone dry, and Romero’s social commentary was becoming both predictable and heavy-handed.

So Diary thankfully jettisons it, and returns us to Night’s micro- scale. Individual college students out making a movie (thus explaining the use of DV) who are trying to cope with a crazy situation. While I’m not usually a fan of movies shot in DV, Romero gets a pass because he’s a legit director who knows how to frame a shot so that he’s not just relying on the gimmick of “this was shot on direct video!” There’s few zombies, but when your cast is five or six people, you don’t really need many zombies to be threatening.

It would be interesting to now go back and watch Survival of the Dead, one where I believe Romero returned to Dawn’s level of societal preoccupation, to see if that one has grown on me also. Unfortunately I only have another week or two in FL, and searching through my storage shed isn’t on top of my to-do list.


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