I never particularly like horror films, but recently I’ve begun to warm up to them, especially when they actually work. Unfortunately Day of the Dead, a remake of George A. Romero’s film of the same name, is another one that doesn’t work and was yet another film that made me detest the horror genre. I love a good splatter house, but only if the plot vaguely resembles something worthwhile. Day of the Dead doesn’t have any of this and because of that I feel very angry that I was forced to view another poor attempt at a zombie film.
Nick Cannon, Mena Suvari, and Ving Rhames star in this horror film based on the George A. Romero classic zombie film. A mysterious virus has infected the small town of Leadville, Colorado and the military is brought in to enforce a quarantine and stop the spread of the disease. As people perish, survivors realize that the virus is creating the walking dead who crave human flesh. Only a small number of people are immune to the virus and those few survivors must battle to fend off the infected zombies while trying to make it out of town alive.
This movie was stupid. Can I make that any clearer? From not seeing any zombie films to seeing almost all of Romero’s works and the various remakes of those in the past year, I’ve been absolutely deluged by zombie flicks lately. I can even dig the cheesy ones (Flight of the Living Dead? Hilarious.) but when they’re just plain bad, I feel like I should just throw something at someone. Although I’ve never seen the original this film is based off of, from what I gather that film wasn’t all that great either so what was the point of “remaking” it when you are going to make something that sucks even more (or so I imagine—I know Romero can make some disappointing zombie flicks, but he basically invented the genre so I’ll give him a pass).
Our stars, Mena Suvari and Nick Cannon, take the lead here and I just cannot sustain watching them for any extended period of time. This film may run under an hour and a half but listening to Cannon spout off dialogue that I think Will Smith has a copyright on is highly agitating. In fact, it’s that type of dialogue that doesn’t really belong in a zombie film that’s played partially straight like this one; either you go full camp or you don’t bother, but Day of the Dead just seems to settle into a middle-of-the-road area that makes you want to punch the TV.
Ok so the story and characters (in case I didn’t point that out above) suck, but what of the all important gore? There’s plenty of that here for sure, but none of is particularly gruesome. After having the pustules in Planet Terror actually genuinely gross me out, I’ve been hard pressed for anything to even come close to turning my stomach in similar fashion and Day of the Dead really did nothing to change my mind that I could possibly see anything more sickly. It’s all pretty standard gore here, with the strawberry jam flashing across the screen and onto walls and floors in copious amounts, but honestly it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.
If this were a student film I’d be moderately impressed by this film, but to think this thing actually had a budget and a studio backing it? No thanks. There’s nothing redeeming here and even if you’re a fan of the genre you still don’t need to check this one out. The zombies themselves have no real core trait, as they range from scene to scene about what their true abilities are and we are even treated to a vegetarian zombie…so uh…lock up your raw vegetables or something. Scary!
Overall? You know the answer. Skip It.
One thing has to be going for me after watching this film: this is a First Look Studios release and they almost never come with extras. So for this release we have…wait, what the hell. Dammit. There’s a full array of extras to look at on this one. Why? Who really wants to watch these? Dammit. Oh well. The disc itself arrives in a standard Blu-ray case and comes complete with a mediocre AVC encoded 1080p transfer that is about as detailed and vibrant as my love for this film. In other words it’s dull as hell and you won’t find anything worthwhile in this picture. The film really has a particularly hard time keeping an image that could even be considered “high-definition” during its nighttime scenes, of which there are surprisingly many (note the films title and you’ll see why this is strange). A Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track accompanies this film and, surprise surprise, actually sounds quite nice. Plenty of surround usage and subwoofer output, you’re able to hear all of the horrendous dialogue in crystal clear quality. Whether that is a positive or a negative, I’ll leave to you.
The extras here are all carried over from the DVD release from earlier this year. First we have an Audio Commentary with a variety of cast and crew. I had hoped that maybe, just maybe, they would realize how sucky this film was but all they did was laugh at Nick Cannon’s jokes and talk about what inspired this film. Surprisingly none of them ever said “Well, for this shot I just looked at the bottom of my toilet and I suddenly had a great idea!”
An Alternate Ending (it still sucked), a On the Set collection of footage (raw footage for the most part) and a collection of Interviews that sugar coat the steaming pile that this film is. If that wasn’t enough you can watch various trailers for this film so you can relive it over in two minute bursts. Hooray!
Overall this is a crap film, with a mediocre video transfer, surprisingly good audio and a healthy array of extras, none of which are worth watching. Just Avoid this one at all costs.
Day of the Dead arrives on Blu-ray on December 2nd.