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Land of the Dead (Unrated Edition) (2005)

Horror movie directed by George A. Romero

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Black Zombie crying.

  • May 28, 2011
*** out of ****

The effectiveness of a zombie movie depends purely on what you do with the zombies. The undead can roam the streets, feed on flesh, but so what? Are they merely there to moan, get shot, and die, or are they there for, perhaps, something more? I think George A. Romero, king of the zombies, knows the answer to that question. He also knows how to make a good zombie film; and he's always been good at doing so. What I enjoy about Romero's films is that they act as both horror films and commentary on society, politics, and people. Romero has taken this approach with vampires, ghouls, and zombies alike.

"Land of the Dead" is one of the more recent Romero zombie flicks, and it's also the best of the lot. Perhaps this is because it reminded me so much of a toned-down-in-quality offering of "Dawn of the Dead". Obviously, "Land of the Dead" isn't as good as that film, but it's the best thing Romero has done since his "Dawn of the Dead"/"Martin" days, so it's good news that he's made yet another worthwhile flick.

While the humans have been finding new ways to kill the zombies, the zombies have been finding new ways to kill the humans. Yes, my friends, you heard right; the undead humanoids from epidemic hell are evolving; and there's a black zombie, in this film, that so much as totes a gun.

The survivors are Cholo (John Leguizamo), Riley (Simon Baker), Slack (Asia Argento), and various others. Of course, I can't name all of them, because just as there are many zombies, there are also many survivors. Basically, this is your typical tale of zombie-apocalypse-survival, but with a nice, taut twist via George Romero.

The film isn't flawless. I don't know what flaws it has, exactly, but they are present; and I can feel them creeping up on me. But of course, I appreciate the work being done here, and "Land of the Dead" is a spectacularly entertaining undead-feature from the king himself. Fans of Romero's early work will probably admire "Land of the Dead" for its often successful attempts to return to those happier days, while non-horror junkies might find stuff to like too. The film uses zombies as social commentary and satire; just as "Dawn of the Dead" did ever-so-brilliantly. "Land of the Dead" isn't exactly brilliance, but it's clever; and that's more than I needed.

Of course, you need lots of meat with buckets of blood on the side when you have your zombie-movie meal. You can't have a zombie movie without blood. I go to zombie movies- or at least casual ones- to see zombies eat people and often times act kind of silly. This is what I got out of the move-watching experience that "Land of the Dead" provides the audience with, and that is what I liked about it. The gore here is especially gruesome, which is good and devoid of any complaints on my part, and for that I'm glad. There's also some genuinely effective scares and creepy-moments; which again, is also quite good. But the fact that Romero injects his typical wit and humor into this film, even so many years later, is almost incredible. Most horror filmmakers forget to do that; even if they are, officially, legends.

When it all comes down to it, "Land of the Dead" is a lot of fun. It has a good look and feel to it, there are some good stand-out performances (one of them coming from the late Dennis Hopper), and it's good to see Romero back to what he always loved doing. And he's good at what he does; it's just that there are some of his recent films that I just don't like. But hey: at least I'm not alone. And while "Land of the Dead" is not a genre mile-stone, few horror films are, thus, it is forgivable; and most certainly enjoyable. Out of respect, I'm awarding "Land of the Dead" a recommendation, and I'll leave it at that.

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More Land of the Dead reviews
Quick Tip by . April 29, 2010
posted in MovieSucktastic
Movie Review Haiku: Land of the Dead - John Leguizamo / Is the best thing in this film / That's not a good sign.
review by . May 19, 2009
Land of the Dead is the fourth film in the "Dead" series. Taking place around the time of the third film, many of the living humans have taken refuge inside a walled city. The city's guardian is an armor plated land moving called "Dead Reckoning". Inside the city the people are divided by "The Haves" (led by Dennis Hopper who over sees the on goings of the civilians and live inside a giant glass tower) "The Have nots" are the people who live outside the tower and make it possible for those inside …
review by . December 04, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
George A. Romero enters with yet another installment in his banal and grossly visual zombie flicks and hopefully this will be the last of them. Obviously there is an appreciative audience who enjoys watching partially decomposed bodies stomp around and grunt and eat body parts of the living because a lot of people write positively about this film.    For this viewer the 'parody' eludes. LAND OF THE DEAD is simply a dark, grotesque, poorly written, hastily thrown together bit …
review by . December 30, 2005
I have rented out this movie last week..........thank god. The gore level is the highest I've encountered in some time and at the risk of offending the Fangoria subscribers, which are legion, is gratuitous beyond words. It's not that I was either offended or disgusted by anything I saw, but I was, however, taken aback by the excessiveness of it all. The clever dismemberment quotient was taken to an all time high, with everything from spring board heads tethered to the body by a strand of flesh, …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Bolstered by the success of28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, theResident Evilmovies and the hit remake of his ownDawn of the Dead, George A. Romero returns to the horror subgenre he invented withLand of the Dead. The fourth installment in Romero's zombie cycle (and the first since 1985'sDay of the Dead) presents a logical progression of events since 1968's horror classicNight of the Living Dead: Zombies(also known as "stenches" for their rotting odor) are the dominant population, and they've begun to show signs of undead intelligence and gathering power. The wealthiest survivors live comfortably in a luxury high-rise within a barricaded safe zone, ignoring the horrors of the outside world while armed scavengers stage raids in the zombie-zone to gather much-needed food and supplies. Simon Baker and John Leguizamo play mercenaries-for-hire; Dennis Hopper is their nefarious boss; and horror favorite Asia Argento (daughter ofSuspiria


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Director: George A. Romero
Screen Writer: George A. Romero
DVD Release Date: October 18, 2005
Runtime: 93 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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