I remember watching Diary Of The Dead, Romero’s previous entry in his ongoing Dead series, and being hugely disappointed. I felt that, after the relatively successful Land Of The Dead, Romero had misfired with his attempt to enter the home video camera driven story that was meant to allude to the YouTube generation. Furthermore, I thought that any sequel would surely be a vast improvement… How wrong I was!
Survival Of The Dead sees a group of mercenary soldiers (the same group that held up the bus from Diary Of The Dead), and an irritating teenage boy (who appears from nowhere), travel to Plum Island. The Island is the home to the feuding patriarchs of the only two families on the island.
The Family Muldoon and the Family O’Flynn have very different views of how to handle the dead. One family wants to try to educate them, the other wants to exterminate them. Choosing a side, the soldiers attempt to resolve the family differences, but find that it’s far more difficult than they could have imagined and, with rapidly depleted numbers, there’s nothing left to do but bring the whole thing to a head once and for all.
On Plum Island, the families are very Irish. We know this because they seem to have the most Irish accents that I have ever heard. I half expected Mrs Doyle to turn up and start offering everyone a nice cup of tea. Sadly, this didn’t happen.
They’re suspicious of outsiders, each other and the world at large. They don’t seem to hold much faith in technology (though have managed to upload a promotional video to the Internet), are able to travel to the mainland (America) using boats, and have two families (and only two families) that have been feuding since childhood.
Survival Of The Dead is an interesting idea – an island where they’re trying to come to terms with what is happening and the influence of outsiders – however, it is, unfortunately, a film that doesn’t make much sense.
There’s so much about it that makes you stop and think, “Wait a minute!” Weeks into the dead rising, we’ve got mobile Internet, television and electricity all still functional; the appearance and acceptance of a teenage boy that I would have shot thirty seconds in; the convenient appearance of a twin sister that isn’t mentioned (or if she is, I missed it amongst all the fantastically appalling dialogue); the dislikeable characters who are written with no depth or development; questions aplenty about the boatyard (particularly the ferry that nobody had bothered to test to see if it had petrol or not until the soldiers turned up!); and… well, the list is endless.
It has some fine moments of gore, especially in the fight in the last ten minutes. There’s quite nice uses of an axe head, a spike, and various good moments involving bullets and flesh tearing. However, it’s all too little too late for a film that falls apart if you look at the plot, the acting, the dialogue or, well, anything else!
It lacks the social commentary of the previous entries, suffers from one too many conveniences of storytelling, has a plot that occasionally dips its toe into the depth of interesting and doesn’t seem aware that it’s teetering on the precipice of comedy.
If you liked the previous entries (and I’m betting you didn’t like Diary Of The Dead), you’ll despise this film with a passion.
All in all, an absolute waste.
There are none. Not one!
No, I tell a lie. There’s a choice of 5.1 Dolby Digital (effective) or 2.0 stereo sound, and scene selection. Not really extras, I suppose.
Survival Of The Dead is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.