REVIEWED
6/13/04

STORY



LOOK

Day of the Dead
Director: George Romero
Year: 1985
TRT: 1:42


This is the third and oft-maligned chapter of Romero's "Dead" series, and, well, for good reason. A bigger budget provides for better overall production qualities and make-up effects, but story-wise this one really comes up short. Gone is the gritty reality that would occasionally surface in the first two, replaced with the faltering storyline of 80s b-movie characters and dialogue, complete with a cheezy keyboard score that makes John Carpenter's compositions seem brilliant. That's kinda how this movie comes off, as a photocopy of a photocopy of a bad 80's Carpenter movie.

Some unspecified amount of time has passed since the plague of zombies has descended upon the face of the earth. Keeping in general theme of the first two, the story's setting is pretty isolated from the rest of the world. A team of scientists and soldiers have a shaky alliance while holed up in a bunker in Florida. While the scientists try to find a way to neutralize the zombie threat, the soldiers are getting more and more pissed off as their numbers are slowly diminished while trying to capture specimens for the lab work. Its only so long before tension and frustration gets the better of them.

It's sorry to see Romero revert to such bland stereotypes. Every character is guilty of over-acting, though not quite so much with the lead (played by Lori Cardille). Logic takes a back seat, not much black comedy to speak of, and you really wonder why the hell any of these people don't just eat a lead sandwich and just get it over with, already. That's what I was hoping to make the credits roll a bit sooner.

Great Scene: Overall the movie is pretty bland. There's only one scene that's pretty cool, and, unfortunately, it's the opening scene with a bit of a scare. But to its credit, there is some pretty good zombie make-up/gore by Savini. In fact, it is the sole reason most people would even want to see this film in the first place.

DVD Notes: Watched the bare-bones edition put out by Anchor Bay, looks good with the Divimax transfer and sounds good with Dolby/DTS options. The only other extras with the disc were 2 commentaries, one with director Romero, make-up FX artist Tom Savini, production designer Cletus Anderson and actress Lori Cordille. The second is with filmmaker Roger Avery. Wouldn't have minded listening to that first one just to hear what Savini has to say, but considering the film itself, it ain't worth my time.