Lori Cardille as Sarah in Day of the Dead (1985)

The Dead Zone

Over the years I have watched numerous zombie movies, the modern remakes with the dead who have super powers to the likes of George A. Romero's "Day of the Dead" and many have a similar formula. A group of survivors battling against zombies in various locations whilst not only trying to get to safety but occasionally trying to find a cure. "Day of the Dead" is in that last sector because we have a group of people thrown together in an underground bunker where they are trying to find a cure.

Now in many ways "Day of the Dead" is less about the zombies than a look at different factions of humanity thrown together in a stressful situation. Whilst we get some zombie action the majority of "Day of the Dead" looks at how this hastily constructed group of military, scientists and a couple of civilians interact under pressure. The scientists split and disagree as they look for a cure, the military just want to take control and blow things up whilst the civilians want to keep out of it, doing their job as pilots and nothing else.

Joseph Pilato as Rhodes in Day of the Dead (1985)

The thing is that whilst we see the conflict hit boiling point as the pressure gets to all those stuck in this little underground community it is not the most in-depth study. Instead what we have is drama which mirrors real life as power struggles ensue and those with guns tend to rule by fear more than anything. And as such for the majority of the movie we rarely get the horror of the zombies, only fleeting moments when one of the captured living dead is shackled and lead to a lab to be experimented on.

But then after a movie which almost feels un-horror like we eventually get the horror and plenty of it in a brutal wave as things get out of hand down below. Without giving too much away the zombies swarm and several people die in very visual ways, in fact if you are not use to Romero's eye for visual horror what you see will surprise. You may think lumbering zombies are corny but when they get stuck into someone it is gruesome and so is to be honest the various ways those battling to survive deal with the dead.

The thing is that all of this is entertaining and those who love blood splattering gore will get off on what is delivered at the end. But for me the prolonged first half as it tries to show the battle between human factions goes on too long and whilst mixing realism against a zombie background you find yourself clock watching in the hope that things kick off soon.

What this all boils down to is that for those who love horror gore "Day of the Dead" will entertain because of the crescendo of brutality which comes during the latter half. But for me the prolonged first half which focuses on human factions in a stressful situation goes on too long.

Tags: Zombie Movies