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George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead (Two-Disc Ultimate Undead Edition)

2009 horror film directed by George A. Romero

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You'll Be Lucky to "Survive" This Latest From George A. Romero...

  • Aug 25, 2010
Let’s be honest here; George Romero is certain to have a spot in the “Horror Hall of Fame” since he has indeed given us the best in “undead” entertainment. His fans have always seen that the man can do no wrong, but honestly, his “dead” series has been really inconsistent and some may even say that it is indeed a ‘dead series’. After my disappointments with “Diary of the Dead”, I wonder what in heaven’s name am I doing trying to watch yet another Romero that is an intended sequel to that film and already has gotten several bad reviews? Well, I am still rather curious whether Romero can redeem himself or further prove that he is not the director he once was; I wanted to see it for myself. I’ll get right to the point, if you hated “Diary of the Dead” then you’ll hate “Survival of the Dead” even more. Pick yourself up a copy of “THE WALKING DEAD” graphic novels or wait for its live action series soon to be shown on AMC instead.

The movie picks up some days after the events of “Diary” then it fast-forwards to several months after the zombie outbreak. Sarge (Alan Van Sprang) and his team of AWOLS are looking for a safe haven as they stumble upon a young man who has an online invitation to a remote Plum island. The group sets out to locate a man called O’Flynn with “Captain Courageous” (Kenneth Welsh) as his nom de guerre. Sarge’s group becomes caught in the middle of a blood feud between O’Flynn and his nemesis Sheamus Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) to see who gets to decide who rules what in the small island. The two have such opposing beliefs as to how to deal with the undead, which may cause them their very lives.

                             A scene from "Survival of the Dead."

                             Kenneth Welsh as O'Flynn in "Survival of the Dead."

“Survival of the Dead” may be a sequel to “Diary” but it is quite different as it disposes of the first-person camera gimmick that its predecessor had adapted. That experimental style allowed Romero to emulate a feeling of realism and make a comment on media ubiquity while hiding behind the backdrop of the undead. “Survival” is a return to a more dramatic and linear storytelling, but the problem is, it has almost the same issues in the execution of the direction. You know what’s worst, even in the film’s introduction, Romero advises his viewers to remember to laugh since he made it to be rather funny. This is bad. Romero stooping to the staples of a zomedy? Things look really bleak indeed for this series.

I am not sure how I feel about this, Romero always struck me as a capable director-writer before but he seems adamant to sabotage his own legacy with “Survival”. The film still has a strong political and social commentary; humans have the natural instinct to be destructive and his pride is the cause for war. Mankind can easily find the reasons to spark a war but would have the hardest time trying to stop waging war. Luckily, my head wasn’t beaten to death with its social and political commentaries as with “Diary” but now, it is the annoying attempts at subtle comedic moments that just agitated me. This time around, Romero tries to be funny; but it isn’t great funny and only serves to kill the mood of the film. While most of his earlier films were dark, grim and strong, this time, he tries to lighten up the mood in a manner that is so unbecoming of a once-highly esteemed horror maestro. I don’t mind subtle comedy, but the comedy here just kills the movie and I felt like I was watching a rehash of more recent zomedies.

                      Devon Bostick as Boy and Alan Van Sprang as Sarge in "Survival of the Dead."

                    A scene from "Survival of the Dead."

                    A scene from "Survival of the Dead."

To make things worst, the acting and the characters in the film were very flat and wooden. Romero’s direction is really uneven, as one minute he tries something different as his major female character is shown masturbating in a jeep and then he introduces several bits of grim commentary. I had a small issue in Romero's attempts in trying to make the zombies sympathetic as they seem to re-live their past habits and lives. It wasn't a bad idea since it was somewhat touched upon in "Day of the Dead", but the movie was just filled with issues. The direction never finds a rhythm nor establishes a footing on its premise. The direction feels real confused and quite frankly, I do not know what the heck was going on in Romero’s mind. The film became real boring after awhile, and may just be an all-time low point in Romero’s career.

Romero said that he had a lot of fun in the making of this flick, well, the fun didn’t exactly reach the viewer. The blood effects were a mix of old-fashioned red ink and CGI; some make up effects were decent and were a step above “Diary” but not by much. There was only one scene of pure gory glory but it didn’t last long. The chase sequences and the action scenes were very dull and felt rather boring. Suspense is none-existent in the film, so perhaps you should be ready for another run of a cheap “zomedy” and forget all hopes for an interesting film on zombie horror.

Yes, “Survival” does have an ambitious political undertone, but it was buried beneath all the bad acting, undisciplined direction, and dull storytelling. Romero is the proclaimed zombie maestro but I have to say that he is beginning to show his age. The film is a little better than the low-budget movies in the SyFy channel, but it is still a movie with careless, substandard and inelegant execution that it shouldn’t even called a horror film but rather a wannabe “zomedy” that is a little hard to sit through.

RENTAL [2 Out of 5 stars]

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August 27, 2010
I wondered where he was going to go after the zombies pulled their Greta Garbo act. THat last line in the trailer sort of gives a clue. I liked DIARY more than you did. Maybe I'll hate SURVIVAL less than you did. Who knows.
August 27, 2010
Can't really tell whether you'll like this (even a tad) one or not, Karen. Even Trashie had a hard time with it, and even acknowledged that it truly wasn't one of Romero's best. As a Romero fan, I did have to take a look myself; Chris liked it, so maybe you'll like it more than I did. I may have rated this slightly higher if it wasn't made by Romero, if it was a show on SCYFY.
August 27, 2010
Diary actually grew on me so I will wait and see how this one plays out for me, EXCELLENT review WP as always good sir. Also I was in a foul mood the other day when I wrote the calling it thing on my status update.
August 26, 2010
Like I said, Romero needs to move away from zombies. How the mighty have fallen...
August 26, 2010
I think Dario Argento is suffering the same things too... :(
August 26, 2010
Most directors are... Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Robert Zemeckis, etc.
August 27, 2010
Sam Raimi.
August 27, 2010
Ah, yes, the unfortunate Mr. Raimi. How did I leave him off that list?
August 27, 2010
Spidey 3 sucked and Spidey 4 will probably suck more...
August 27, 2010
Where have you been? There is no Spidey 4. Sony Pictures fired Raimi from the franchise and now they are rebooting the whole series with an origin story, new director, new cast, and everything.
August 27, 2010
Oh, and Queenie, if you're keeping track and making a list, add Brian DePalma to it for me.
August 27, 2010
why? the first two were fine. I guess they just want more profit again...another origin story...hm. smells like Disney at work LOL!
August 27, 2010
No, this is purely Sony Pictures/Columbia's work. Apparently, the studio wasn't happy with Raimi's third film and his plans for the fourth didn't mesh with their commercial interests (Spidey 4 was originally titled "Spider-Man: The Wedding"; WTF?!). In some ways, I think taking the series away from Raimi was necessary since I never felt that he honored the comics the way he should, mainly how he changed the origin and the whole black suit/Venom storylines. Still, I'm sick of Marvel screwing up their characters and stories on the screen and then immediately rebooting them. I can't believe that they're rebooting "Fantastic 4" and "The Incredible Hulk" already. The entire Marvel Universe has gone to hell as far as continuity and consistency go. Damn you, Avi Arad! Damn you, Disney!
August 27, 2010
Hm. I didn't mind the changes from 'radioactive spider' to bio-enhanced gene-spliced spider. I also didn't mind the organic webbing since what...Parker spending a lot of $$ to make his web fluid when he was already poor? Meh. Reboot is unnecessary despite the stupidity of # 3. They probably didnt like the idea of the wedding since they have to promote the foolish story arc BRAND NEW DAY. Disney also messed up AVENGERS--those bass turds LOL!
August 27, 2010
hated the fact that Spidey was always losing his mask though on film.
More George Romero's Survival of th... reviews
review by . November 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
*1/2 out of ****      Isn't it strange how one day, a man is an inspirational director who re-invents a genre, and then the next day he's a generic, forgettable bloke? George A. Romero, King of the Zombies, is without a doubt one of those men. The man has made good to great films before; take the original "Dawn of the Dead" for example. But his zombie career, particularly in the "Dead" series, has gotten worse and worse as time goes on. His zombies …
review by . October 04, 2010
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Forewarned is fore-armed and perhaps that's the best way to view George Romero's latest zombie flick SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. One always hopes for another classic of the same stature as NIGHT, DAWN, or even DAY OF THE LIVING DEAD but audiences should cut the guy a little slack and realize that no one can give them what they want every time out of the starting gate. I went into this flick expecting something that was absolutely unwatchable, and what I got was a film that (had …
review by . November 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      THE SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD      There have been many things said about George Romero and even more things said about his Dead films post the original three. For the most part people liked "Land" and just excepted it for what it was; people seem divided on "Diary" and as for this one well people kinda disliked it. Now I will say from jump right now that I have enjoyed all of them, honestly I have. I really liked all of them and that …
review by . April 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
If you thought Diary of the Dead was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet
Diary of the Dead was Romero's attempt to cash in on the shaky cam craze while putting his own zombie mastermind spin on it. Although technically his fifth film in the living dead series, I never really considered it on the same field as Night, Dawn, Day and Land. It seemed more like a spin off film, an add on, to make a gaming analogy Diary of the Dead was a bonus pack, not a new game in and of itself. For me, and for many, many other long time Romero fans, Diary was a bitter disappointment. It …
review by . June 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
With George A. Romero, it's always about social critique. "Night of the Living Dead," released at the closing of the 1960s, examined the horrors of war - specifically the Cold War and Vietnam - and the harsh reality of racism. "Dawn of the Dead" satirized American consumerism. "Day of the Dead" suggested that man's greatest enemy isn't a world full of zombies, but his fellow man. "Land of the Dead" explored political divisions between classes in a post-apocalyptic community. "Diary of the Dead," …
review by . August 08, 2010
The story continues...
Survival of the Dead follows the exploits of Sarge Crockett, a National Guardsman who was for a brief moment an internet celebrity when he was captured on video robbing the film students from Diary of the Dead and a feud between two clans on a small Atlantic island community.  Sarge and his soldiers are now in survival mode and they're looking for a place to hide out from the zombie plague.  One of the island's clam leaders has been exiled from his home along with his followers …
Quick Tip by . November 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Great 2-Disc set full of wonderful extras, the special features alone are worth it.
Quick Tip by . October 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Survival of the Dead: It was ok. The cultural commentary seemed forced. But, movie seemed more like a comedy than a horror movie. There is a reason by Return of the Living Dead is not considered to be up to par to the Dead series. This compares to the recent D zombie movies that have been coming out.
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About this movie


Sequel to Diary of the Dead.

Poster art for "George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead."

Writer-director George A. Romero, who invented the modern zombie film with 1968's Night of the Living Dead, returns to the graveyard for Survival of the Dead, the fifth sequel (of sorts) to his landmark movie, with his trademark gore and social commentary intact. Survival picks up shortly after the events of 2008's Diary of the Dead, which offered a revisionist take on the zombie outbreak in Night; here, a minor character from Diary (Alan Van Sprang) takes center stage with his team of fellow mercenary soldiers as they make their way to remote Plum Island, where two feuding Irish families sort out the best way to deal with the living dead. As is often the case with Romero's films, the ideas don't always match the execution--his dialogue and characters remain painfully stock at times, and the CGI elements of the effects look amateurish--but at its core, the picture retains his fascination for entropy in American society, as personified by the twin family patriarchs, who cling stubbornly to their beliefs as their world literally dies around them. Parallels between this story and the conservative movement of the early 21st century are obvious, and while others have made more artful statements about the situation, Romero once again cuts to the bloody heart of the matter. Limited in scope and budget, Survival isn't on par with Night or 1978's Dawn of the Dead, but it's a watchable and intriguing addition to his zombie ...
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Director: George A. Romero
Genre: Horror
Release Date: September 9, 2009 (Venice Film Festival)
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Screen Writer: George A. Romero
DVD Release Date: August 24, 2010
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Blank of the Dead Productions, Magnolia Home Entertainment
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