Ginger Nuts of Horror
However, as a race we’ve just gone ahead and accepted carrots. If we can accept those, we can accept anything.
Oh hey guys! After a totally unintentional monster of a break from reviews (cheers life), I’m back and watching all the crap you’ve recommended for me. And by ‘crap’ I mean ‘totally awesome movies that I can’t believe YOU think are crap’. So, of the several overdue nominations, which one did I start with? Why, Day of the Dead (2008) of course!
Now, before I get into this, those of you who read my ‘Dead Snow 2’ review will have gathered that when it comes to zombies, I’m not exactly objective. To be honest, I love them. They’re the apple of my eye… the wind in my sails… the cheese in my toasty. Basically, I’m their bitch. Anyone who challenges me with ANY zombie film is on to a loser, because I’m too biased about this particular monster. And to those who think that’s ridiculous or unfair, I say sorry but f**k it. I never said my reviews would be objective. In fact, I believe the point of writing them in the first place is to force my total love of horror on to the rest of you. So here goes….
Adrian Shotbolt, you nominated this one for me in the comments section, so I hope I can change your mind about, what I consider to be, a charming homage to a Romero original. To be clear folks, we’re talking about the 2008 remake starring Mena Suvari, not the George A. Romero 1985 original. There may be some spoilers.
Let’s begin by pointing out the obvious; that this film isn’t so much a remake as a reimagining of the original work. The setting has mostly changed, themes differ greatly, and the characters are basically new. It’s a fast-paced modern update, complete with quick human-to-zombie transformations, sprinting zombies, fast action sequences, and even faster editing, which contributes a lot to the overall pacing of this feature. What we basically get is the new ‘modern’ zombie (they run, leap, climb, and in this case, think - they even work together to hunt!), crossed with a giant nod to the original.
Sarah (played by Mena Suvari – on a superficial, sexually objectifying level, that’s always a plus), bears resemblance to the Sarah (played by Lori Cardille) from the original. She’s a strong female lead, but Suvari’s small stature and military rank make her a little different to Cardille. Her strength and ability to lead comes out of her personal connection to the infected area because it’s her hometown, and her brother is involved in the chaos. She has something to lose, and her family ties add a little oomph to the level of responsibility she has to get everyone the f**k out of dodge.
There are several nods to the original (which I also love), but my favourite has to be the inclusion of the character ‘Bud’ (Stark Sands). The second you hear his name (if you know the original), it has to raise a smile, because this dude is clearly this update’s version of Bub (Sherman Howard). Like the character he’s based on, he’s a little cowardly (just a bit), a little nervous, well trained, and ultimately helps to save the day. When we first meet him, he tells Sarah he’s a vegetarian, which gave me a good old laugh out loud moment, since he later becomes a zombie that refuses to eat his human pals. This is explained – apparently the zombies retain part of their personalities. We can accept that, but according to pretty much every other zombie in the movie, most of them must have been psychos to start with, if we go by that explanation. *Shrugs*.
If we look at the technical aspects of this movie, it’s a triumph. For me, the editing stands out, particularly in those ‘danger’ scenes, where our team is facing those undead, bitey bastards. The quick cuts lend themselves to fight scenes in action films, adding a bit of extra excitement and tension.
The opening of the movie in particular, pays attention to the theme of nature, and the notion that essentially, nature is f**ked right in the dick by humanity. We start with trees that lead to a neglected building, where some frisky couples are getting their Marvin Gaye on. It’s a nice visual analogy for humans being where they don’t belong, and adding ugliness to an otherwise glorious location. Those opening shots are complimented with some atmospheric music that hints at the trouble to come, so though we see those leafy, peaceful greens, we know that some holyshit-type catastrophe is pending. This theme is visually repeated a few times, until we go full-circle and our team end up in an underground research facility where the source of the outbreak is explained. Basically, some foolish doctors create a biological weapon, and it goes awry. Man tries to f**k with nature, and nature has the last laugh, basically. It’s glorious.
Another plus to this movie is that the characters, mostly, aren’t complete idiots that are just bound to be zombified or ripped to shreds. They actually have brains and they use them to problem-solve and plan their moves. Take our power couple, Trevor and Nina, for example. At first, they’re presented as those frisky, roll-your-eyes-at-them, people, but they turn out to be pretty capable zombie-killing machines. When the radio DJ starts to turn zombie, Nina immediately goes for the kill.