Movie Preview: Survival of the Dead

By Michael Vass | May 13, 2010

Zombies. They are slow (normally), dumb, and aching to eat you. The only think you can do is shoot them in the head. Or is that all correct?

Thus is the question that George Romero asks yet again in the 6th walking dead movie. Honestly the question has pretty much been answered by now. In case you are unsure, the zombies are getting somewhat faster, definitely smarter, and still want to eat you. There is no cure and shooting them in the head is still the best answer to the situation.

But that really was never the big thing about the zombies in Romero’s films. It’s rarely ever been about them, it’s all about us. From the first film the zombies have just been a means to make a statement about our world and the way we interact with each other. The pinnacle has to be the first film (and not the remake) with it’s depiction of racism being the only true survivor once the dead re-awaken.

Several of the subsequent films (and again not the remakes) delved into the other horrors that humanity is willing to enact on itself, even as the number of living humans drops exponentially. Often the question is asked by characters in the films if humanity is worth saving at all. It’s a hard question to answer when every action by the characters in the films is a credible response we all might expect to see happen in such a situation.

The remakes have all tended to minimize the social commentary of the originals. The focus has been on the blood and gore of zombies feasting or being killed. It’s bland, repetative, and insulting to the original films. But then again, the 5th and 6th film have more akin with the remakes than the originals. Which leads us to Survival of the Dead.

Are we getting anything really new in this film? Not really. Is anything new being said? Just another depiction of the idiocy that humanity can reach even in a time of complete chaos and horror. Plus the zombies are again learning new tricks from thier old lives. You can imagine that soon they will be herding the surviving humans, making them the new cows on which to feed, as a zombie society forms not completely unlike ours now.

That’s the problem. You can see where George Romero is ultimately going with this series of films. It was telegraphed 3 movies ago, if not hinted before that. But it is taking forever to get there. And the quality of the films, as they get ever more monotone and influenced by the need for gore and blood just for the sake of raking in cash, is suffering. The message is getting lost in the mass production.

Is Survival of the Dead a good zombie film? If you want gore and a few shocks, it will fit the bill. If you are looking for a deeper meaning that Romero once was able to deliver, see one of the original 3 films. Beyond that, you can wat for the DVD or it’s appearence on cable.

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