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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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If you thought Diary of the Dead was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet

  • Apr 18, 2010

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 lacked the grit and realism of Day and Land, and its characters were far from the well developed fleshed out human beings of Night and Dawn. Although not a terrible film, if failed utterly to live up to the greatness of Romero's other titles.

Where Diary failed to live up to the living dead series, Survival not only does that, but pisses on everything Romero ever did right with it. I've been pissed off before watching movies by directors I once loved, but never like this. There is absolutely no redeeming quality for Survival of the Dead, nothing that could possibly save it from the dozens and dozens of hate reviews it will receive once the general public gets a hold of this piece of zombie trash. I've seen my fair share of bad zombie movies, anyone out there who can say the same knows that most are garbage, so you can understand the full meaning of when I say Survival of the Dead is probably, of its own right and not just compared to the original four movies, THE worst zombie film I have ever had the displeasure of seeing. Never before has such an idiotic film featuring zombies infected my DVD player with its idiocy the way this one has. Fine, think I'm exaggerating? Don't take my word for it, watch this abomination for yourself and see just how far the former master of living dead horror has fallen.

The story starts out with the old line we know from Dawn of the Dead and reused in Diary of the Dead, "everyone who dies gets up and kills, the people they kill get up and kill." Its a classic, is it not? Who doesn't remember those frightened and half panicked newsmen shouting at one another in a crowded room, as the world turns to hell outside their doors? To this day its one of my favorite moments of the entire series. So, in spirit of this great scene, Romero puts these words in the mouth of some emo Snake Pliskin from Escape from New York wana be chain smoking idiotic Army National Guard sergeant played by THE most armature actor imaginable who drolls out his lines like he'd rather be somewhere else, reading some other script that someone with more talent put a little more time and effort into writing. In the first two minutes we get to see zombies sneak into the Army camp, somehow undetected by the guards, and bite the cheek off one hapless victim. Soon after our emo idiot sneaks off into the night with stupid trailer trash fat white guy, a horny sexy tough with a sensitive spot Latino girl, and a womanizer god fearing panzy Mexican. These three amego's and the token tough girl go AWOL, meeting up briefly with the *cough* 'hero's' of that Diary movie I mentioned earlier, before adding a brooding hotshot thinks he's all that teenager to the mix and running off in an armored truck to meet an old Scottish white guy who the brooding hotshot thinks he's all that teenager saw on his iphone who's promising people a chance to live on an island free of the "dead heads" in his best car salesman voice possible.

It only gets worse from there on, but I digress. The biggest strengths of the original four movies were their focus on strong characters who's survival and interactions with one another were the real drama of the movies and NOT the zombies, and an underlying political or social message that tackled issues like racism and consumerism. Sure, the gore in Day was fun, and the comedy in Dawn was appreciated, but they aren't the focus of the films. With survival Romero presents us with a group of characters who are not only badly acted (VERY badly acted) but uninteresting, boring, and cliché. There is not a single character in this film, NOT A SINGLE ONE, that could get me to feel anything but hatred for them. I sighed with relief every time one of them bit the dust, relished their moments of demise since I wouldn't have to suffer through their idiocy any longer. If only ALL the characters had died... early in the movie... before saying a word... yeah, it would have been good had this film not been made in the first place. As for underlying political messages, Survival has one I guess, but it’s so heavy handed and indescribably mixed in with the convoluted story line that I couldn't make heads or tails about what it’s really about. Is it about family feuds? Is it about respecting the dead? Is it about never killing? Is it about, oh gosh, I don't really care, the movie is terrible so any message it was trying to get out was lost in translation.

Quick question; how hard is it to outrun a Romero zombie? I know he seems to do this in all his films, where people are running from zombies and are somehow caught, but it just gets absurd in this film. Everyone just sort of sits there and waits for the zombies to surround them before trying to get away, and then there's always that ONE zombie they didn't seem coming from behind who grabs them by the neck and takes a bite out of it. I yearn for the days when this was funny. It was in Dawn of the Dead when that Mexican guy in the hat got eaten up in the blood pressure machine, not so much in this film.

But I'm rambling, I'll end my review with this. George A. Romero is no longer a great film maker. Land of the Dead was great, Diary of the Dead mediocre, but Survival is just plain terrible beyond belief. I never thought I'd be giving the tidal of best zombie movie (Day of the Dead) and worst zombie movie (Survival of the Dead) I've ever seen to the same man, but that seems to have happened here fellow Romero fans. Despair, for the king is now dead.

If you thought Diary of the Dead was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet If you thought Diary of the Dead was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet If you thought Diary of the Dead was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet If you thought Diary of the Dead was bad, you ain't seen nothing yet

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June 11, 2010
I'll do my duty as a horror fan and see it anyhow, if and when it's ever released here. Who know? After all these dire warnings maybe it won't be half as bad as I'm expecting it to be. Yeah, sure.
April 18, 2010
ugh! I heard mixed things about this one. Sounds painful. Trashie somewhat liked it, I still need to add this to the queve and see for myself. Great review!
April 19, 2010
Its a Romero zombie movie, even if its terrible you still HAVE to see it, but the one thing me and Trashy agreed on in this film is that its considerably worse then Diary of the Dead, so if you didn't like Diary, your going to hate this.
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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 . 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
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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 . 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
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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.
About the reviewer
Jonathan J.D. Lane ()
Ranked #118
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … 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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