George A. Romero’s shuffling zombies are back for the third time in five years, this time stinking up a little island off the coast of Delaware and not bothering to stop off at a cinema en route.
Zombie western (!) Survival Of The Dead follows a minor character from 2007’s Diary Of The Dead, rogue soldier ‘Nicotine’ Crocket (Alan Van Sprang), as he and his not-so-merry band of men blast their way towards the supposed sanctuary of Plum Island. Once there, they find themselves caught in the middle of the O’Flynns and the Muldoons, feuding Irish clans more dangerous than any deadhead stumbling over the blood-red horizon.
Modestly funded by Diary’s Artfire Films, Romero’s sixth zombie picture contains little of the social satire that so animated his earlier efforts, back in the days when George returned to his living dead just once a decade.
What it does have, though, is moviemaking craft, this cheap but classical film proving camerawork and editing, like zombies, don’t need to move at a breakneck speed. Who needs torque and twitch when the film pulses with the writer/director’s signature blood-black humour – count those loopy, gloopy kills, the CG bleeding into the practical effects with a seamlessness that eluded the bigger-budgeted Land Of The Dead.
Fans of Zombieland, Dead Snow and the 28… Later films will likely wonder why the Don of the Dead doesn’t stick to stroking his cat. Old-school horrorheads, meanwhile, will find enough here to rejoice that George is still playing with dead things. “I do what I want to do and nobody messes with it,” he told Total Film last month.
No such insights on the extras-free DVD and Blu-ray, mind.
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