Monday, 22 September 2008

Ill-Advised Remake Monday: Day of the Dead

First things first; while this film is certainly ill-advised on almost every level, I'm not sure it qualifies as a remake. There are some zombies, there are some soldiers, there is a scientist called Logan, and a soldier called Rhodes, and a semi-sentient zombie called...wait for it...Bud (See? Get it? Not 'Bub'? Get it? See? I believe it was around about this point I started bleeding from the ears...), but actual remake? Possibly not. It has as much of 28 Days Later (fast zombies, jittery fast-shutter camerawork), The Crazies (military fail to control icky outbreak) and the original Night of the Living Dead (disposable teen couple, squabbling marrieds) as it does the original Day.

Plot? Umm....Military quarantine a town in Colorado, all the cast tries not to get eaten; some fail. Mina Suvari is the shortest soldier in the military. Your hapless correspondent wonders why Ving Rhames now qualifies for the Brad Dourif billing ('AND Ving Rhames'), until I realise it's one of those got-him-for-three days show-up-and-die overgrown cameos (the sort of thing Rob Zombie has 5 or 6 of, and one of them is Danny Trejo); one facial expression, a messy special effect, and his agent's phone number visibly protruding from his fatigues pocket. The only other major black character just has to be a cool, gun-toting, slang-talking street kid with a self-sacrificing heart of gold and absolutely-god-forbid-NO romantic interest in his tiny blonde superior officer. The not-Bub resembles Robbie Benson. People get poorly, get very poorly, go a bit blank, then turn into pasty, screaming meth-heads with a taste for cerebellum tartare. Who, after a brief cheap-CG phase. turn into blobs of black oily glop when set on fire.

And while I'm on the subject, what the hell is it with the fast zombies? How come, right up to the mid-90s, zombification made you dull and slow-moving, and now it suddenly has the same effect as a cocktail of steroids, Red Bull and PCP? Even the zombie chorus-line in Thriller, funky movers to a decomposing man, were not what you could call...speedy. Somewhere, I'm sure, there is a highly-academic paper to be written on the subject, but it'd need one of those doctorate-y horror people, and since my highest qualification is a Retail NVQ (Level 2), this is not that place and I am not that person...

In summary; not the worst film I've ever seen...not even the worst film with 'Day of the Dead' in the title (see 'Day of the Dead 2: Contagium' sometime, if you ever feel as though you have too many brain cells and need to lose a few)...Watch it if you want to appreciate the original more, if you like to feel the warm glow of familiarity, or if you just can't get enough gun-toting blondes, shouty soldiers and infected people...and the last copy of Planet Terror is taken.