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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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"A man dies, he gets stupid."

  • Oct 4, 2010

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 it been from any other director) would have been regarded as an entertaining, effective horror flick. Romero however suffers from being  judged by other standards. But what of the film? Just some random thoughts there.

In SURVIVAL Romero picks up temporally where DIARY OF THE DEAD left off since the story takes place approximately 6 days after the events depicted in that film. But thematically it harkens back to both NIGHT and LAND OF THE DEAD. At the finale of LAND OF THE DEAD his zombies pull a Garbo,  stalking off into the darkness, wanting nothing more than to be left alone. Unfortunately this raises the question of how they can possibly separate themselves from human beings when they depend upon them for their food source. In SURVIVAL Romero seems to be laying a foundation that will deal with this troublesome matter. But I found the greatest references in this film to be to NOTLD because it was in that seminal film that Romero first presented his human beings as having the potential to  be greater monsters than the zombies who were only fulfilling a new biological imperative to eat their own kind. The human beings on the other hand were engaged in meaningless struggles for equally meaningless power from the first moment that Ben and Harry faced off in that deserted farm house-- Power struggles that actually caused their  deaths. SURVIVAL's entire plot is built around the struggle for power between the patriarchs of two Irish clans on isolated Plum Island, and, as in NOTLD, this struggle for power causes everything to end tragically--although in the case of SURVIVAL it also serves to set up another potential film.

Romero seems to be saying that while his zombies can evolve, we human beings are doomed to repeat our self-destructive behavior endlessly. If we aren't engaged in power struggles, doggedly determined to prove ourselves right no matter what the cost, then we're sadistic rednecks merrily engaged in torturing the undead just for fun--another recurring theme in his flix that has become magnified over the course of the series.  It seems a very pessimistic view of America (if not the world) but a quick peek at American politics serves to re-enforce that view. Who can forget Rush Limbaugh's statement that he wanted President Obama to fail, especially when you combine that with the Republican party's determination to oppose everything the Democrats propose? It can't help but make me think of Ben and Harry in the farm house surrounded by ravenous zombies. And Harry just has to have it his way.


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July 14, 2011
Ugh. I'm inclined to retrieve this by virtue of your reserved recommendation, but Diary was the worst imaginable reminder that, like Hooper or Carpenter, Romero refuses to supplement his ever-waning career with fresh ideas. That tired conceit of a recurring social narrative in favor of zombies is but an excuse to bankroll diminishing returns and fantastically retarded, besides - a critical analysis of homo sapiens' perpetual failures neither magnifies nor warrants the notion that subhuman monsters have any legitimate depth to exploit. This negligible joy-killer was at least granted entertaining plot arcs in Day and Land (where he probably ought have concluded this franchise), but as the crucial element of his stories, it's revealed to be an exceptionally stupid concept. 
July 16, 2011
Can't disagree with anything that you've said. Where is the man who gave us MARTIN, or even KNIGHTRIDERS?
May 10, 2011
Hey George A Romero is from Toronto i gotta support the guy. Thats why I will always watch his Dead movies.
May 31, 2011
I didn't know that. I just thought he was from somewhere in Pennsylvania since most of his films were produced there. So does that make you a big Cronenberg fan?
June 05, 2011
I dont think ive watched any of his movies. But i nkow hes Canadian.
July 14, 2011
Romero's from NYC, and spent his formative years in Pittsburgh. He didn't become a Canadian citizen until 2009.
July 16, 2011
I had no idea that Romero ever did anything more than maybe day-trip to Canada. This is my new thing for the day. Thanks guys.
November 06, 2010
Great review as always - personally I am sick of zombie movies, but you brought out lots of insights about this one that were interesting to me!! Way to go QueenB...
November 07, 2010
Movie makers have no imagination as a rule. They always go with whatever everyone else is doing. sigh
October 20, 2010
EXCELLENT review Queen, I actually kinda liked this one more so than most. Not saying it is a classic or anything but I kinda liked it, I love the 2 disc special edition for all the features.
October 20, 2010
It's not as bad as most people make it out to be.
October 05, 2010
You know, this whole political and social metaphor with zombies has just about gone as far as it can go. I want to see a film now where the zombies are the peaceable victims and its the damn humans who go around consuming and destroying everything.
October 06, 2010
I think he's leading up to that. But after this last entry he may never get the backing for another film.
October 06, 2010
I want to see a zombie utopia. Humans are the real monsters anyway. Humans wage wars, rape one another, and are just as guilty of having an endless hunger that feeds off of destruction. Zombies at least know better than to lie, though of course they don't have much to say anyway. ; )
October 06, 2010
He's at least 3 flix away from zombie utopia.
October 06, 2010
Yeah, but we'll all be brain dead zombies by the time he gets there. He should have called it quits after "Day of the Dead" back in the '80s.
October 07, 2010
DIARY wasn't all that bad.
October 07, 2010
It wasn't good either. I think Romero just needs to move beyond zombies at this point.
October 07, 2010
Orlok and QueenB, y'all should read 'Handling the Undead' - it's new newest book by the same guy who wrote the original book of 'Let the Right One In.' It's about as close as I've seen to a zombie story where zombies aren't the real monster. I've got a review of it lying around here somewhere. It's a bit slow, but worth a shot, and definitely a different take on the whole thing. Maybe Romero can do the film version! By the way, excellent review. I've been meaning to see "diary" and now "survival" and this may finally push me to do so.
October 07, 2010
Sounds like something Woop might want to check out as well.
October 05, 2010
Good review, but I can't imagine why you'd expect a Republican to embrace a Democratic solution, especially since it's been proved since that Rush was correct with regards to the ineffectiveness of the stimulus plans. But if that's Romero's viewpoint, then that's his problem. But thanks for updating us on the Romero movies. I hadn't realized he'd made so many.
October 05, 2010
I'd just expect (scratch that), hope that there would be a little more effort to work together. Right now it seems to me that the Republicans are sitting back giggling and saying "Your half of the ship is sinking" when they're the party that's primarily responsible for the damage to the ship in the first place. (Although as a former union member I will never be able to forgive Clinton for NAFTA.) If you want to see a good Romero flick that isn't in the zombie vein, try his vampire flick MARTIN. It's old but it's really different and very effective.
October 06, 2010
She brings up a very valid point. Obama was handed a nation about to be pulled into an economic abyss. And typically when one is sinking they become desperate and cling to whatever they think will keep them afloat.
June 25, 2011
Thanks for the backup, Count.
October 04, 2010
Haha, tha tlast bit about its relation to politics is right on the mark, I hadn't even thought of that before now. Excalent point, though I still feel the movie is garbage, maybe if they'd tried harder to make that specific point it could have been better, though I feel that wasn't one of the main focuses. Great review, I'm going to re-watch this film when I get a break from work, hopefully it'll be better the next time around.
October 04, 2010
It's sort of always been one of the points of Romero's zombie flix to one degree or another. LAND OF THE DEAD was an extremely political film. All of his film since DAY OF THE DEAD have taken at least one more viewing to appreciate. I detested DAY for a good decade. Now I see where he was going with it and I like it a lot.
October 04, 2010
Nice review, Karen! I liked the way you opened your review and made your thoughts about the film well-expressed about pessimism in America. hey, what did you think of the final scene?
October 04, 2010
You mean the shot of the moon?
October 04, 2010
SPOILER: remember the two became zombies under the moonlight and they still hated each other...and tried to kill one another. re-enacting their past rivalry.
October 04, 2010
Yeah, that's the one I was thinking of. It was great.
More George Romero's Survival of th... reviews
review by . August 25, 2010
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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 …
review by . November 17, 2010
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*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 . November 01, 2010
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      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
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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
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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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karen ()
Ranked #21
I am the poster child for inertia. Where ever I am is where I plan to stay FOREVER.   So much so in fact that it took me decades to understand the punchline about why   the chicken … more
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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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