"Survival of the Dead" Movie Review (2010)

5/30/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"Survival of the Dead"

Directed by George A. Romero, Written by Romero, 90 Minutes, Rated R

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"Survival of the Dead" is the sixth feature in George A. Romero's decades-spanning series surrounding an unexplained zombie apocalypse and the attempts to survive by the few who remain alive.

"Survival" is a loose follow-up to the most recent entry, "Diary of the Dead." In that film, the protagonists are captured and robbed by a group of renegade National Guard soldiers led by Seargent Crockett, who serves as the main character in this film.

Most of the action takes place on Plum Island, a small settlement off the coast of Delaware where two Irish families--the O'Flynns and the Muldoons--have been warring for years. When the dead begin turning into zombies, the conflict between the two patriarchs, Patrick O'Flynn and Seamus Muldoon, reaches its pinnacle, as the former believes all of the undead should be shot on sight, while the latter believes they should be kept alive in case a cure is developed or they can be taught to eat meat from animals instead of humans.

O'Flynn eventually finds himself ousted from the island, and after several weeks attempting to find his way back, Crockett and his group come upon him and together they all take a ferry back to the island to take it back from Muldoon.

This is pretty typical Romero stuff. Every one of his films is more about the evil of man in the midst of a zombie apocalypse as opposed to the zombie apocalypse itself, and he uses the situation to express his unique brand of social commentary.

Unique as it is, though, Romero's attempts at strong commentary are getting more tiresome by the movie. Every one of his films is more heavy-handed than the last, and this one is definitely no exception. Romero's message here is predominately about the futility of conflict. I don't know about you, but last time I checked, I didn't need a zombie movie to tell me fighting is silly. Another of Romero's points is a far more complex one, and it's actually more timely than ever--what truly defines life or death? The conflict between O'Flynn and Muldoon isn't much unlike the question of whether  someone braindead or in a coma is worth keeping alive.  Or, as indicated by one particularly interesting line from O'Flynn, "He shoots the living and keeps the dead alive."  Where do we draw the line? When is it OK to let go of those we've lost?

The overall plot and message would be great were it not for Romero's typically absurd take on the subject. I'm all for satire, but there's a difference between satire and showing a bunch of heads getting blown off or a horse geting eaten alive.

But I suppose that all comes with the territory. As always, Romero revels in the repulsiveness of his visuals, and he gets pretty inventive here with the kills. Before watching this film, I can honestly say I'd never seen someone killed by getting a flare shot in their chest, which subsequently sets their entire head on fire.

So, as always with Romero's work, it all depends on what you're willing to see. The man knows his gross-out gags, and his direction overall is as solid as ever. But you have to be willing to put up with social commentary that's about as subtle as a knife in your face and dialogue straight from a zero-grade B-movie. If that sounds like something for you, you're bound to get a heep of enjoyment out of this one.

Grade: C-

View a clip of the flare to the head here:

And view the trailer for "Survival of the Dead" below. What did you think of the movie?

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  1. Lo-Lo said...

    Love it. George Romero is the zombie genius and I shall watch this with as much enthusiasm as all the others. Wonder if this one will knock 'Day' off my Romero top spot? I'm not sure, but no doubt it is ace!