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Friday, May 11, 2007

Day of the Brain-dead

I dig my fair share of zombie flicks. Like a lot of people, I find the original Dawn of the Dead to be a classic. I find Shaun of the Dead to be a tender story that just so happens to have zombies in the mix. These aren't munch-outs where one-note stereotypes get picked off one by one. There is real chemistry between the protagonists. The threat of being attacked by zombies is not their only problem.

28 Days Later is not a zombie flick per se -- it's more like The Crazies where people go into a murderous rage because of a virus. Still, there is real depth and chemistry between the characters. The same can be said about the Planet Terror film in Grindhouse. With George Romero's Land of the Dead, it actually says something about social class structure and ignoring society's problems. In other words, this is entertainment with logic, truth and relatable human drama.

But aside from these films, what I've come to find with most modern day zombie flicks is utter silliness. Zombies that can run in the Dawn of the Dead remake? Um, how? I wondered what people would think up next. Well, when an advance review came online of the "remake" of Day of the Dead, I had a big laugh at the following quote:
But these aren't regular zombies. These zombies are fast! They run, they climb up walls and crawl across the ceiling. They even drive cars. When there's no more room in Hell, the dead will drive the earth.

Visions of zombies driving cars in an American Graffiti-style setting came into my head. How ludicrous is this? And it gets better: a zombie who refuses to eat flesh because he was a vegetarian in his former life.

I understand I'm not the target audience for this film. The original Day of the Dead is not that great, but I didn't consider seeing its "remake" in hopes it would be any better. If anything, the only connections are the title and a character name. This is pure mindless entertainment -- the kind of stuff I try to steer as far away from. It doesn't matter how good the CGI or gore is, give me characters I can care about and a feasible plot. Is that too much to ask or do focus groups, clueless producers and marketing strategies suggest otherwise?

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