George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead George A. Romero

George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead George A. Romero
I must preface this review by saying that I really like zombie movies. So, when I tell you that George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead is very bad, you should be aware that that statement comes from a big fan of the walking dead and not some nose-in-the-air, high art critic.

Romero, who defined the zombie genre with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, leaves behind his Dead canon (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Land of the Dead) to start his zombie universe afresh. This time the zombie apocalypse is told through the eyes of a group of student filmmakers caught together on the night of an undead uprising. The entire film is shot in a pseudo-cinéma-vérité style, somewhat like the Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield.

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t come across as depicting a group of student filmmakers so much as it comes across as a film made by second-year film students. The acting is deadpan, with the characters often spitting out pithy monologues about the "state of modern society” that are inane, innocuous and out of touch. Even the zombies are dull, shambling along in the background of the story as a catalyst for the characters’ "poignant revelations” and bad survival decisions.

Romero has been making zombie movies for 40 years, which makes this film all the more inexcusable. With the recent mainstream resurgence of this genre, including Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, the high-octane remake of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and, most recently, I Am Legend starring Will Smith, Diary of the Dead is poised to draw unsuspecting fans into theatres thinking they are seeing the latest work of the genre’s leading filmmaker. Sadly, it would probably be more fun to have your face eaten off by a rotting corpse. (Alliance)