George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead

“Diary of the Dead” stars Joshua Close, Scott Wentworth, Michelle Morgan and other unknowns. It’s written and directed by the master of horror George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Bruiser, Monkey Shines). Although he isn’t the first to make a zombie film, he is the first to create the horror sub-genre known as “zombie apocalypse”

A group of film school students encounter real flesh eating zombies while shooting their movie. The cameraman Jason is determined to get everything on tape to show the world what really happened and what our society resorts to when panic strikes.

Some people might find that the problem with this film is there isn’t enough zombies and too much filler. Personally, I would’ve liked a zombie movie to have been made. But I don’t think Romero was trying to make a zombie movie as much as get a powerful message through, which he does in the last scene. What I didn’t like about it is the acting and how awfully written the script is at times. There are moments that shine, but I was expecting better writing and directing from The Master of Horror. This is Romero in rare, rusty form.

Was this trying to be a spoof, a horror movie, or a social commentary? I can’t quite tell. It works better as a social commentary than anything else, raising the question “Are we really worth saving?”. It is hard to tell if Romero was actually putting effort into making all of this seem real. It managed to feel more artificial than concrete the majority of the time, thanks to the scripted dialog and the not-so-good acting. The beginning and the ending are sharp and definitely show what George A. Romero is all about. It is the middle that drags, slowly improving in suspense and gore along the way. It’s as if he forgot what he was doing ten minutes in and remembered in the last frame.

I thought the ending was really well done and made me think long after it was over. It also has many redeeming qualities such as jaw-dropping kills, a good dose of gore, and a sometimes taunting score. It’s almost enough to win me over, but it doesn’t quite do the job. Being a hardcore fan of the slow-moving dead from the classic 1968 Night of the Living Dead, I would like more zombies and less political double talk. Lets hope the next entry in the series will be a zombie movie.

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  1. asmoul89 says:

    I felt this movie warranted a better rating. However, I understand many viewers may not find the documentary-like quality very appealing. I actually feel the video recording made the film much more realistic (like with The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield). Diary of the Dead certainly did more for me than Land of the Dead.

    Thanks for the review!

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