So I broke down and saw this film, and in a way I'm glad I did. Survival of the Dead is no masterpiece, but it is better then Romero's "Diary of the Dead", and shows some promise even though the story seems too preposterous.
The whole story about letting the zombies live just seemed too off-beat. I mean zombies and bullets seem to go together. I mean what's the point in keeping a zombie alive? So the conflict between the two families doesn't make mush sense. What did make sense was the story of the survivors of the zombie Apocalypse. That's been it for me and I believe a lot others too. In the most interesting zombie film "Dawn of the Dead" Romero was going for the whole breakdown of society. He used comic book violence to get a point across without beating our heads in with the message. In essence it was fun and yet if you took apart the film there was a lot there. Even in "Day of the Dead" Romero goes darker and the violence becomes less comic bookish, and more realistic. In "Day of the Dead" mankind is in ruins, and the zombie Apocalypse is in full gear. Even in "Day of the Dead" Romero uses dark humor to show us the end of the world. Romero gives us even a glance of hope towards the end of "Day of the Dead" which is unlike Romero.
In Survival Romero seems to be going back to his roots and picking characters he is interested in. Alan Van Sprang plays a leader of a motley crew of military deserters who are searching for a safe place to rest. These aren't the good guys, and Sprangs character says that. They are just surviving, and isn't that what these Dead films are all about. How we as human beings survive this great zombie Apocalypse. It isn't all about the zombies. It's about what kind of society we transform into when faced with extinction.
I'm a HUGE fan of Romero and I really like what he has to say, but he's always constrained by his budgets. He does a good job getting his message through, so when the camera was on the survivors I was most interested in the story. The story between the two families was somewhat interesting, but it got a bit ridiculous towards the middle.
In the end "Survival of the Dead" isn't bad at all, and what I hear is that Romero is making some money off these films finally. I'm happy to hear that, and maybe with that extra money he can go back to what the series is all about, and that is the breakdown of society, and how mankind adapts to the zombie Apocalypse.
Maybe a cable series of the dead. Wouldn't that make sense? Possibly highlighting different survivors throughout its episodes. I would think that it would be financial viable, and it would keep Romero rolling in cash for awhile. Maybe it would free him up to do something more interesting, or different. I don't know, but whatever the case I still believe in Romero the filmmaker.
"Survival of the Dead" shows that Romero is still on top of his game, and still laughing while winking at us as he shows man kinds decent into the zombie Apocalypse.
PS: Can we start filming these films in country again. I know Canada has some interesting financial incentives to film there, BUT with this recession here there are a LOT of GOOD deals to be made with local film organizations that make it cheaper to film here then in another country. Also it just looks a lot better from a cinematic point of view.