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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Survival of the Dead shows no signs of life

click to enlarge NECK AND NECK: Tawdry (Wayne Robson, left) has a late lunch.
  • NECK AND NECK: Tawdry (Wayne Robson, left) has a late lunch.

Homer Simpson once recorded a one-hit wonder novelty song that received so much airplay, he eventually declared, "I'm starting to hate my own creation. Now I know how God feels."

Director George A. Romero sometimes seems to share those sentiments. Romero created the modern-day zombie genre as we know it with his disturbing 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead, in which ambulatory corpses feed on the living. Romero's vision of a zombie apocalypse has received so many sequels, remakes and satires, it's like an open-source fictional world anyone can play in. The filmmaker used to branch out with intriguing psychological horror stories such as Martin and Monkey Shines, but now merely cashes in on the zombie vogue with possibly the worst "living dead" films currently being made.

Compared to the shlocky joys of Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland, Romero's Diary of the Dead (2007) and this year's George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead prove to be preachy, hackish and ultimately just sad. It's as if Romero treats the zombie concept as a hoop he has to jump through to bankroll his numskull explorations of social issues, such as Diary's dreary ideas about digital media. Survival seems inspired by long-standing tribal feuds like those that characterize the Balkans or the Middle East. The film primarily takes place on Delaware's Plum Island, where bad blood between two inexplicably Irish clans erupts with violence when the dead rise.

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(Photo Courtesy Magnet Releasing)

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