Diary of the Dead (2007)
Dear Diary I'm Dead Bored
You're a corpse, for Christ's sakes. If you run that fast, your ankles are gonna snap off - Jason
Everyone who likes zombie movies knows the name George A. Romero, he is the master of the zombie movie but even a master can get it wrong. When Romero made "Diary of the Dead" in 2007 he got it wrong on so many levels from the film within film documentary styling to characters that are forgettable and poor it just doesn't work. In fact this movie about a group of film study students caught up in a zombie apocalypse as one of them films what happens ends up feeling like a movie made by a bunch of kids trying to be George A. Romero.
As Jason Creed (Joshua Close) and his fellow students make a Mummy movie in the woods they hear the news of the dead rising and attacking the living. Deciding to head home together Jason decides it his duty to film everything which happens much to the annoyance of his friends who think he's a prick for doing so. Their travels bring them into numerous encounters with the living dead as their own numbers dwindle with each encounter.
There is part of me which sort of understands what Romero was trying to do with "Diary of the Dead", embracing the idea of people uploading film for the world to see via their own cameras and phones. And by doing so he doesn't just give us another zombie movie which ends up purely about a group of people finding safety and battling zombies. But the end product doesn't work and rather than being an entertaining zombie movie it ends up annoying.
The problem for me starts with the whole film within the film aspect as we watch Jason film everything which happens as they seek safety. Maybe it's me but if there was danger from zombies you wouldn't spend the time with a camera stuck over one eye especially when you see a friend being attacked. It is unbelievable and before you say well it's a zombie movie what do you expect the whole aspect of being a film with a film is meant to make it real and so it fails. The only thing it achieves is making the character of Jason Creed a dick who is up his own ass when it comes to what is important.
But this leads me to the next problem because what we get is a mismatch as we have Jason's viewpoint, then the big viewpoint and then a narration about what Jason is doing and it makes it not hard too follow but dead boring. I suppose it comes down to taste and I'm not a fan of this fake film with in a film thing and it not only make it monotonous but makes the focus Jason and the anger of others towards him for his insistence of poking a camera in everyone's face. Maybe Romero was trying to point out how stupid it is or maybe he is saying this is how it should be but I don't know because it ends up a real muddle.
But the worst thing is that because the focus ends up on Jason, his viewpoint and those who are angry with him it becomes less about the zombies. In fact the zombie action ends up sparse despite various scenes of zombies lumbering around and it is only when we get some zombie action does it get good. A scene with a farmer in a barn is probably the best of it because the rest of the action ends up for the most routine; well routine which feels good because the rest of the movie is so dull.
And then we have the characters a real mismatch of people from a seriously fake professor who speaks like a thespian to Jason and his blooming camera. There is not a single nice character in the movie and the closest we get is Debra, Jason's girlfriend who is the most angry at him for filming everything. This movie needed someone to champion, someone who we could like and get behind in the hope they survive and without it it fails.
What this all boils down to for me is that "Diary of the Dead" is a failure and feels less like a zombie movie and more about the culture of people thinking they are important by filming everything to share with the world. Basically it becomes a movie about the character Jason rather than survivors trying to get to safety by avoiding zombie attacks.
Tags: Zombie Movies
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