Splatter Time Fun Fest 2012 kicks off just like it did last year, with a film from George A. Romero!
Written By: George A. Romero
Directed By: George A. Romero
I don’t care much for zombies that evolve. George A. Romero already started the progression towards zombies that are able to adapt, change, and evolve in the last entry in his Dead series, Day Of The Dead. I did not like the presentation of the evolutionary zombie in that film and I dislike it just as much in Land Of The Dead. I understand what Mr. Romero is attempting with his evolutionary zombies, but that does not mean his attempt is interesting or creates worthwhile cinema.
On the contrary, the zombies we see in Land Of The Dead are boring. They fail to be harbingers of doom because they are acting so much like humans that very little separates them from a human antagonist. I can watch any number of movies where a bad guy goes after the good guys with a gun. I don’t need to see zombies learning how to use, and eventually using, guns to go after humans. That does not interest me, that bores me to tears and goes against everything that I enjoy about the zombie subgenre of horror.
Zombies are supposed to be base representations of humanity, and when you remove the base element and make them equal they are no longer fun or interesting to watch. Day Of The Dead was able to get by because Bub was an interesting experiment. The idea behind him deserved to be explored, but it should have been evident after Day Of The Dead that the evolutionary zombie was all concept and no execution. Yet Mr. Romero trudges ahead in Land Of The Dead with a group of evolutionary zombies who fail to leave any impression because they are continuing a concept that has no legs.
That’s not to say that Land Of The Dead was entirely bad. There were good elements to the film, namely the gore/zombie effects and the few times we see the zombie world outside of Fiddler’s Green.
I still get a huge kick out of urban and rural landscapes that have been overtaken by zombies. I love when a director can take images or locales we know and pervert them with the presence of something obscene. Land Of The Dead doesn’t do this enough, but when we get to see a gazebo full of zombies it is at its best.
The zombie and gore effects are top notch, for the most part. There are a few dicey sequences where it is clear that CG has been used to ill effect. One such sequence involves a zombie priest with a nearly severed head. That could have been a decent moment within the film, but the CG is distractingly bad. The zombie priest is an exception; on the whole the make-up effects from the KNB EFX team are top of the line. The gashes, wounds, blood, eviscerations, and spleen eating all look fabulous.
The zombie/gore effects and the urban infested zombie areas were what allowed me to enjoy Land Of The Dead. I did not come away from Land Of The Dead impressed with the product as a whole and I do really hope that horror filmmakers move away from the evolutionary zombie concept. Land Of The Dead is good in moments, but on the whole it is a letdown and most certainly not the way I was hoping to start this years festivities.