Diary of the Dead
Film: Diary of the Dead
Director: George A. Romero
Writer: George A. Romero
Starring: Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close and Shawn Roberts
This film begins with a news report. There are ambulances, police officers, paramedics and reporters at the scene of a crime. We hear that a man shot his wife and 16 year old son before killing himself. We watch as the mother and son come back to life and attack those around them. They soon learn that you have to shoot them in the head to kill them.
We then shift to a woman running through the woods; she is played by Amy Lalonde. A man dressed as a mummy appears from behind a tree, he is chasing after her and he is played by Philip Riccio. Someone yells cut and we realize this is film being made. The director is played by Joshua Close. He yells at the make-up artist for the make-up on Riccio coming off, the artist is played by Shawn Roberts. We soon learn that Close and Roberts do not get along that well.
They then hear a news report about the dead coming back to life. This freaks them out and they figure out what they are going to do. Riccio states he is going to his parent’s house. He is rich and he claims their house is like a fortress. Another young woman, played by Laura de Carteret, goes with him. Close wants to go back to the dorms to pick up his girlfriend. Roberts and Lalonde are coming with him. Lalonde boyfriend, played by Chris Violette, is coming as well along with the two other crew members, Joe Dinicol and Tatiana Maslany. Their teacher is from somewhere in the United Kingdom and he loves his bourdon, he played by Scott Wentworth.
I will point out that there is quite a bit of voice-over narration from the beginning. This fills in what characters feel about the reactions people are having and them pointing things about human nature. It also lets us know that we are watching all of this and it has already happened. These also fill us in about other things going on outside of this story in the world as well.
After running into a looter, Close finds his girlfriend; she is played by Michelle Morgan. She is immediately annoyed with Close for filming. She wants to get her to family and she is upset when she cannot get a hold of them. Close tries to explain to her that he is doing this preserve a record.
Back in their RV, it is decided to head to Morgan’s families’ house. Close tries to interview everyone while they head there, but everyone is quite annoyed by him. They witness a car accident and there are people who shouldn’t be alive walking away from it. Roberts doesn’t believe the dead are walking. Maslany is driving and she runs down four people who should be dead.
They pull over and Roberts makes her feel worse about what she has done. While they are hanging out they hear a gunshot. No one knew that Maslany had a gun and she tried to kill herself. She did not succeed so they take her to a hospital.
It is deserted. They split into two groups looking for help. They encounter zombies inside. Violette has the gun and through trial and error learns how to kill them. Morgan is upset with Close, because he is filming all of this and not helping. She is furious with him when he hangs back with Maslany to charge his camera. She is attacked during this and she yells at him.
Maslany dies when they cannot find a doctor and Wentworth takes care of her. They try to leave and Violette gets bit on their way out. The gun was given to Roberts at this time. Dinicol kills this zombie with an IV pole to show him that the dead are walking.
Violette dies soon after from this bite. This group learns more and more about what is going on from the internet until it goes down. They run into an Amish man who helps them when their RV breaks down. They also run into an African-American and his crew. He is a member of the National Guard and they have a base set-up. Morgan uses their supplies to help get back to her home.
Will her family be there when she gets there? Are they even still alive? Riccio has extended the offer again for them to come out to his place while they are at the National Guard base. Will they go there? Is it safe? Can they make it to either place?
I have to say that this is an interesting film. This one is supposed to take place on the same day as Night of the Living Dead; this is just a modern update. I really like all the use of technology, especially since everyone puts everything online as it is. I could really see people filming things like this and wanting to document it all. It would also make it difficult for a government cover-up, which is what they try to do in this one. Having the first hand accounts gives this one a good twist. I really like the concept and I think the interactions with the zombies for the most part are good.
I had some big problems with this film. First off this one tries a little too hard to be a comedy and I didn’t really care for that. The other issue is things the characters say. It made it feel too much like a film and was not natural. I thought along this that the acting was weak, which is rare for a George Romero film. I didn’t like the use of CGI for the gunshots and blood. I also find it odd that Close watches people die around him without helping. If someone did this in real life, they are a horrible person. Not saying it couldn’t happen though.
With that said, I would give this one a viewing if you like Romero’s Dead series or like zombie films. This one gives you a first hand account by documenting what is going on. The interactions for the most part with the zombies aren’t bad; the acting though is pretty weak. The concept is really good and I think this is a pretty solid modern retelling of the events of Night of the Living Dead. Not the best film in the series or the best zombie film, but still enjoyable and worth a view.
My Rating: 6 out of 10