So I’ve come to Day of the Dead 2008. The original Day of the Dead was one of my least favorite of the original Romero films. I can’t say much more for the remake.
That may be the last positive thing I have to say in this review but I’ll try to keep on the bright side.
One of the things that threw me off right away was the fact that Ving Rames is in this. Nothing against Ving Rames, he’s kind of awesome, but he was a character in the remake of Dawn of the Dead so his presence in this movie as a TOTALLY DIFFERENT CHARACTER feels a LOT like the casting of the second Return of the Living Dead movie in which several actors were brought back to play totally different characters, all of their original characters having died in the first film.
As I was casting around for information about the film before writing this I found statements by Rames regarding his involvement in both movies to the effect that the movie was a remake of the Romero movie but stands on its own apart from the remake of Dawn. Another amazing thing is that these two movies are apparently unconnected? Sooooo, someone remade Dawn of the Dead in 2004 and it was a box office hit then these guys come along and decide to remake Day of the Dead and that’s TOTALLY unrelated?
Sorry, but I have to call shenanigans on that one. They made this movie as a follow up to Dawn as a way to make money and didn’t have the connections or the official go ahead or whatever to make it a direct sequel to the remake of Dawn even though it is. They did however manage to get Ving into the movie. I’m willing to let the politics behind the scenes of the making of hollywood movies go as I don’t care much about it but when it blatantly effects the viewing pleasure of the movie it’s hard to let it go.
On to other things. Day of the Dead plays out in a fairly typical way for zombie movies. It takes place during a medical outbreak in a small Colorado town in which the infected dead rise up and start destroying the world. You know this already I’m sure, or could have guessed it. This movie differs a bit from others as it closely follows the actions of military personnel and their reaction to the outbreak and attempts to keep it under control. It also offers us a real answer to how the outbreak happened and who caused it.
Oddly enough, as interesting as that is, it’s sort of a disappointment by the time this movie comes along. So what if there is a crazy scientist? So what if it’s a government program gone crazy? So what if there is a secret military base? We’ve seen all that in other movies and not just the original Day of the Dead. the answers the movie gives us just don’t seem to matter especially when the questions are so much more fun.
It’s tough to sum up all the crappy points about this movie beyond the bad story line, the lack of character development, the shallow character development in the few we do get to know and the screw-ball super powered super scientist leader of the zombies in the army bunker. Ok, that REALLY should be addressed.
As the Romero zombies progressed he introduced higher and higher levels of intelligence and understanding in his zombies including the character Bub in the original Day of the Dead. Bub manages to get into this remake as well as a soldier named “Bud” (more modern I guess) who won’t attack the female soldier because he has an attachment to her and possibly because he was a vegetarian before he died.
Much like the original Day of the Dead this movie is just a typical gore fest with a fairly boring story and action. I have to admit to liking it just a tad more than the original but liking one pile of crap more than another isn’t saying much.