Saturday, July 10, 2010

Morgue Inspection - George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead

I'm trying to branch out a bit and do some movie reviews here. I usually end up getting between 30 and 70 movies a month and I think I should try and review one occasionally. My goal, one DVD cover quotes.

I've always wanted to do reviews, and in fact I've done a few very long winded and sloppily written reviews on here before. My goal is to make my new reviews shorter and more to the point, I'd like to try and keep them concise, like 3 or 4 paragraphs long, but I'm not a strong enough writer to really convey what I'm trying to say without going overboard and writing a thousand word essay with little focus or coherence.

I'm a bit soft on movies. So much effort goes into even the worst, most godawful piece of shit movie you can think of (Terror Toons, you still hold that honor for me) that I really try and find positives in anything I watch. So I plan on trying a "like" and "hated" list at the end of the review, see how that works out.

Since I mostly post soundtracks, I will post "Review" or something in the title so nobody gets excited (negatively or positively) about downloading a soundtrack that just came out.

I was one of the very few people who didn't hate Diary of the Dead. It wasn't great, but I didn't get the intense, boiling hatred everyone seemed to have for it. So, that and a very positive review of Survival on CHUD had me excited as I popped this bastard on to see what Georgie had come up with for his sixth undead adventure. As sad as I am to have to say this about one of horrors greatest filmmakers, it turns out CHUD has one of the only positive reviews out there for a reason.

The movie opens on Plum Island, an island off the coast of Delaware, (where everyone has a thick Irish accent for some reason) during a worldwide zombie outbreak. There seems to be only two families on this island, the O'Flynns and the Muldoons. Patrick O'Flynn believes that every zombie should be killed immediately, even if they happen to be small children. His nemesis on the island Seamus Muldoon has apparently seen the movie Fido and feels zombies should be chained up and forced to do mundane housework, like cooking or cleaning gutters. Muldoon has had enough of O'Flynn's zombie killing ways and intends to kill him one night. But Pat's daughter makes a deal with Seamus - In lieu of shooting O'Flynn in the head, waiting a few minutes for him to zombify, then shooting him in the head again Seamus just forces O'Flynn (and a few others) off the island.

We cut to the United States a few weeks later where we meet a roving band of military cliches (hard ass leader Sarge, dopey idiot goofball, tough chick Tomboy, horny hispanic guy Cisco) who, along with a teenager they pick up on the way seek refuge at Plum Island, which they believe to be a safe, zombie-free haven. In order to get to this island they steal a ferry guessed it, O'Flynn who has been tricking people into coming to his dock with false information about Plum Island so he and his partners can steal all their shit.

A big gun fight breaks out between O'Flynn and Co. and Sarge's crew . Zombies show up, a lot of shit blows up but thanks to Tomboy's kindness, O'Flynn ends up on the ferry on the way to Plum Island.

That's the basic set up, to say more would ruin the rest of the movie.

Things I liked:
The practical gore effects were mostly pretty good.
Zombie Horseback
The brief underwater zombie shots were very well done.
Kenneth Welsh answered the question "What if Sean Connery and Malcolm McDowell had a son?"
Fire Extiguisher zombie kill was really pretty awesome.
Alan Van Sprang looked kinda like Ron Livingston after a particularly harrowing bender.

Things I kind of hated:
Terrible Irish accents - and I think some of these guys were actually Irish
Some fairly poor acting from pretty much everyone
Repetitive human deaths, way too much neck "flesh peel" effect.
Shoddy CGI work. I'm still not sure why lower budget films even try CGI.

I wanted to like it, and for a good 40 minute stretch during the middle it was actually pretty engaging. But ultimately, the subpar acting, ridiculous accents (why were they Irish again?), slow start and mediocre ending kind of killed it for me. Romero fans, and zombie aficionados should give it a look, but be prepared to bitch about George losing it shortly after.

If you're wondering where I'd rank it with the rest of the Dead, I'd say:

Day of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead (a better movie than Day, but Day's zombie make-up is top notch, so it edges out Dawn for me a bit)
Night of the Living Dead
Diary of the Dead
Land of the Dead (this and Diary are both kinda so-so, I'm calling a tie between these two)
Survival of the Dead


Captain Midnight said...


It's ironic that you posted your review right now. I just a big ol' article on the subject of Survival of the Dead. Swing by and read it at

Then feel free to tell me that I'm full of shyte ;D

Anonymous said...

Good review... The movie is basically the second half of elements from George's original "Day of the Dead" script that he couldn't incorporate due to budget.

gargoyle93 said...

I've read and heard a lot about the accent problem and how it doesn't sound right to anyone. I wonder if George did it on purpose, to sound like the folks who live in places like Tangier Island. It's not a normal Tidewater drawl, but the lilt almost tricks you into thinking the speaker might have spent some time in the UK (maybe).

Discador do IG said...

"Day of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead (a better movie than Day, but Day's zombie make-up is top notch, so it edges out Dawn for me a bit)
Night of the Living Dead
Diary of the Dead
Land of the Dead (this and Diary are both kinda so-so, I'm calling a tie between these two)
Survival of the Dead"


I follow this blog for some time now and I always missed some reviews. keep it up, man!

btw, check this video I edited with some Day/Dawn of the Dead clips!

cheers from Brazil!


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