Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day of the Dead (remake)

I have no one but myself to blame for these things. A horror movie comes out, it seems obvious that it will be awful, all reviews confirm this, and I watch it anyway. Is there rehab for this? The latest example of my problem is the recent remake (in the loosest terms imaginable, it has almost nothing to do with the original, other than a character name or two) of Day of the Dead. It had an additional warning to the usual, since the DVD cover has the worst artwork I’ve ever seen, featuring a puking zombie. I expected the worse, and it didn’t disappoint me.

A small town in Colorado suffers an outbreak of a strange illness. The army quarantines the town, although no one tells them not to go around town without Hazmat suits or masks. There’s no point in remarking on all the military errors in the movie, but I would point out that privates don’t “Yes, Sir!” and salute corporals. The important military personnel are Ving Rhames as the Captain, who was cast because he was in the remake of Dawn of the Dead, and his presence here might fool people into thinking the two movies are related, Mena Suvari as the Corporal, who is also from the town that is quarantined and has family there, which gives her an excuse to ignore orders when she wants, and Nick Cannon as the Private, whose role is to give the movie urban appeal, I guess. Rhanes doesn’t last long, but Suvari, Cannon and a few other survivors end up in the zombie-overrun town fighting for their lives, etc., etc. Nothing happens that will surprise you.

There are a few things that are different about the movie. Taking the “running zombies vs. shambling zombies” one step further, these zombies leap about in sort of a wire-fu experience. They also explode into sparkles like the vampires in Blade II when touched by flame, apparently for no reason than it looked cool. And the zombies seem to retain some intelligence, using guns (poorly) and in at least one instance, driving.

Some things will drive you nuts. After they are cornered by the zombies, someone asks Suvari why she doesn’t shoot them with her pistol, she reveals the gun is unloaded, and when asked why, says “It’s a complicated story.” Obviously, this will be a plot point, but the story is never told, and doesn’t seem to have any function whatsoever.

Also, the movie title is Day of the Dead, and all of the action takes place at night, which I think is a legitimate criticism.

Be a stronger person than I am. Avoid Day of the Dead like you would, well, zombies.

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