Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day of the Dead, The Army vs. Zombies

In 1985 George Romero's "Day of the Dead" hit the silver screen.  Initially, this horror flick was a failure.  Fans of Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" (1979) were cool to this next installment in the great director's zombie series.  Where "Dawn" drove home social commentary with wit and humor, "Day" tried to drive it home with a hammer.  But wait!  As the decades unfolded, horror fans warmed to the 1985 film, and it is safe to say "Day of the Dead" has aged well.  Even Zack Snyder's remake of 1978's "Dawn" became a bigger box office hit than it's 1978 predecessor.  Forget all that, today we take a peek at 2008's "Day of the Dead," which Romero had nothing to do with.
Directed by Steve Miner of "Friday the 13th" fame, our film today is not a sequel or even an installment in Romero's creation.  True, we have the army and scientists and zombies.  Similarities end there, however.  In this one, the science community is the bad guys and the heroes are the army peeps.  As the film begins a small Colorado town is quarantined by the army.  Residents are battling a flu like outbreak.  Soon the flu outbreak is a zombie outbreak.  As fast-moving dead eat most of the army, Corporal Sarah Bowman (Mena Suvari) leads a few of her troops through the heart of the outbreak.  Sarah has a heart and saves her brother Trevor (Michael Welch) and his hot gal, Nina (AnnaLynne McCord).  Nina is worth saving, as she has a streak of Alice (from "Resident Evil") in her.
Very sad, Sarah's CO, Captain Rhodes (Ving Rhames) comes up a bit short...literally.  Poor Rhodes, we will see him pull off his eyeball and eat it.  The pretty Sarah will also find an unlikely ally...a military zombie (Stark Sands) with a crush on her.  The gore is piled pretty deep, and our ever decreasing band of survivors will find an apparent safe underground military lab.  Their feelings of safety will quickly vanish as they realize they are in the core of what was Project Wildfire.  What is Project Wildfire?  Come on, you can guess that one.  Special kudos to one of this blogs favorite actresses, Christa Campbell, who plays a local housewife coming to terms with her increasingly zombified family.
Filmed in Bulgaria (kinda like Colorado without the glitter), "Day of the Dead" may seem like heresy to Romero enthusiasts.  However, standing on it's own merits, this one is a lot of fun, not preachy, and filled with over-the-top gore.  The acting here is better than 1985's "Day" and Mr. Miner succeeds in delivering a film that is 90 minutes of fun and scares.  Available on YouTube and occasionally on Syfy, treat yourself to this fantastic gore-fest.  

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