Day of the Dead: Bloodline – Review 

While you can get away with calling Day of the Dead: Bloodline a ‘reimagining’ of George Romero’s classic, there’s nothing ‘bold’ about it (in fact, it’s such a loose interpretation that ‘Generic Zombie Thriller’ would work just as well).

Part of what made Romero’s movies so horrific (in the best possible way) was his penchant for slow-moving zombies.

Their speed was irrelevant because they’re so numerous.  They were a creeping horde of inevitability focused entirely on devouring anything living in their path.

It was this inexorable march that made them so terrifying;  no matter how fast you run, no matter how far you go, they’ll eventually catch up to you.

The zombies in ‘Bloodline’ are of the more athletic variety, which may create more immediate gratification in terms of (jump) scares, though the sense of inevitability, of tension, is lessened (If not lost entirely).

Another trait of a Romero zombie movie is what I like to think of as layered storytelling (a tendency that’s effective the less you see if it.  In his later movies he tended to hit you over then head with ‘MEANING!’ and ‘MESSAGE!!’ which made the movie that encased it a lot less interesting)

For instance, you can enjoy Romero’s Dawn of the Dead at face value–as simply a story of humans in a shopping mall facing off against the undead–or as a commentary on consumerism and how our need for stuff is literally devouring us.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline though?  What you see is literally what you get.  There’s nothing in the way of subtext, which isn’t a deal breaker if the action were more engaging or the characterization strong.

Neither of which, for the most part, happens to be the case.  Though the most damning criticism of the movie is that too many characters have more to worry about from catching ‘the stupids’ than a zombie virus.

By which I mean there’re  too many scenes where people die in circumstances where someone with an iota of common sense wouldn’t. If it happens one time you chalk it up to bad luck.

If it happens three or four more times, it’s really bad writing.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline is not by any means a terrible movie, just not particularly noteworthy.

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Mom and Dad – Official Trailer

A lot of people seem to take a perverse joy in watching Nicholas Cage overacting style of acting, but it typically it doesn’t move me.

Though what’s worse is that it feels to me Cage is being mocked, which is sad becaus he clearly trusts in his directors enough that he’s willing to swing for the bleachers.

Or maybe it’s just a part of his shtick and he does if because that’s what he wants to believe people have come to see.

In any case, Brian Taylor’s Mom and Dad feels vaguely like M. Night Shymalan’s The Visit combined with George Romero’s TheW Crazies, where for unknown reasons–though likely due to an oddly specific virus–parents try to kill their children.

Let the hilarity begin!

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – Teaser Trailer

Screenshot 2016-08-05 18.35.36

Did you know that George Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow, The Dark Half-one of the better adaptations of a Steven King story) was in contention to direct the first Resident Evil movie before Paul W.S. Anderson was chosen?

That the father of the modern day zombie movie somehow couldn’t approach a property that revolves around the walking dead to the satisfaction of Capcom (the creator of the Resident Evil video games) I find particularly interesting.

That being said, I haven’t  read Romero’s screenplay so I have no idea why it was rejected, though having seen virtually all the movies that make up the franchise, I have to wonder if some executive in Japan aren’t kicking themselves.

Or maybe committing seppuku if he hadn’t already (and yes, I’m reasonably sure that most , if not all, of Capcom’s executives are male).

Because, while the first movie is pretty decent, the latter certainly aren’t and in fact they get progressively worse as the series moves toward this, the the penultimate chapter.

Fear The Walking Dead: Nick’s Escape – Teaser Trailer

A teaser trailer for Fear The Walking Dead, the companion series to AMC’s The Walking Dead, has turned up, and I am a bit concerned in that I have no idea what’s going to differentiate it from the series that spawned it.

They appear to be going the route of using the trailers to individually introduce significant characters, so here’s Nick.

You can’t tell what’s he’s running from, though I am reasonably sure it’s a zombie–it’s worth mentioning that based on the way he keeps looking back implies that something is moving as quickly as he is, though considering that the zombies are Romero-type, makes that highly unlikely, so there’s a bit of a mystery, which is never a bad thing–though as far as I am aware, at heart it’s no different that The Walking Dead, except for a new cast and location.

And speaking of different actors–I have a sneaking suspicion that that that will only be the case till the inevitable crossover.

I think it’s important to mention that I am not saying that Fear The Walking Dead is going to be a bad series–I haven’t seen it, so I have no idea–though what I am saying is that I don’t see how it’s going to be a distinctive one.

I also don’t expect it to fail, though I do expect it to disappoint (critically and ratings-wise, though it should premiere big before it goes into a spiral, before stabilizing).

Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead -Review

Red Snow 2: Red Vs Dead movie poster

“Apparently, No One Told Director Tommy Wirkola That Sometimes Too Much Is Just Too Much.”

Have you ever known a person that you enjoyed being around, despite that they always seem to try way too hard to be the center of attention?

You may like them as an individual, but wish that they would just tone it down, if only a little bit?

Well, Tommy Wirkola‘s Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead is the movie version of that friend.  The first Dead Snow was a pretty enjoyable horror movie and tribute to directors like George Romero, Sam Raimi, and John Carpenter (especially Carpenter, seeing that it was essentially a gorier, more humorous version of his 1979 movie, The Fog).

Unfortunately, the sequel tries way too hard, upping the ante by throwing in an evil arm (very Sam Raimi), and a troop of Russian zombies on top of the Nazi zombies that were raising Hell from the first movie.

But sometimes more isn’t better, it’s just more. In fact, when things really get moving you have to be amazed that he can even wrangle it all.

Despite the similarities to The Fog, it actually plays more like a  Sam Raimi movie–as opposed to something from John Carpenter, who takes his subject matter more seriously–who’s likely to mine horror for humor as much as violence.  Though there’s an important caveat:  When Raimi tends to do so the humor acts as a release valve (for tension), while in Wirkola’s case the effect is often the reverse.

In other words, while the humor and outrageousness are ramped up considerably, it’s typically at the cost of the horror.

Which is a pity because while the Nazis never needed help in being terrifying, very little of what made them so makes it intact to Tommy Wirkola’s movie.

 

Red Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead is currently on Netflix

‘Resident Evil: Apocalypse’ Review

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

“Paul W.S. Anderson is a successful director, yet paradoxically many of his films are barely watchable.”

I have read that George Romero was originally offered the first ‘Resident Evil,’ though his treatment of the property was eventually rejected.  It’s worth noting that I haven’t read or seen that treatment, so I have no basis for understanding why the producers came by their decision.

And admittedly, Anderson’s film wasn’t terrible.  It wasn’t great, but was at least effective.  And since I never played the video games it was based upon, I can’t say how accurate it was to them.

Though the later movies in the Resident Evil series have gotten schlockier and schlockier, which is a pity because the production design of those that I have seen is typically top-notch (for “Resident Evil: Apocalpyse” production was led by Paul Denham Austerberry, and it’s attractive in a clinical, Germanic way.  It reminds me of the work Carol Spier somewhat, which is a high complement).  This time around Paul P.W. Anderson has passed the reins to Alexander Witt, whom would normally get the blame, or the kudos, for the end product.

I don’t blame Witt for the mess that is “Resident Evil: Apocalypse,” because Anderson not only wrote it, he produced it (along with Don Carmody and Anderson’s production partner, Jeremy Bolt), which says that a lot of what ended up on screen Paul W.S. Anderson wanted to be there.

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Rebooting ‘Night of the Living Dead’

Hollywood is now talking about rebooting George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” which doesn’t necessarily need it, if you give it any thought.  That being said, I am not against it (as I tend to be) because the original is a good film, but also a product of its time, which was 1968.

So perhaps we’ll see a more topical ‘Dead’ film.  Another reason is that, unlike with John Carpenter, George Romero sometimes has a hand in the reboots of his films (if only a writing credit).

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