George Romero’s Diary of the Dead (2007) dir. George Romero
Starring: Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close, Shawn Roberts, Amy Lalonde, Joe Dinicol, Scott Wentworth
We all have to show our penance to the Godfather of Zombies, George Romero. That’s why I went to see his latest “Diary of the Dead”. Unfortunately his best days are behind him as the film is a subpar effort in the genre, and serves only to self-parody his other films. It’s largely uneventful, action-less and uninteresting. I admire his attempt to subvert the genre he invented by making the film seem like a student film version of his own films, but the post-modernist approach distracts us from what we all really want to see - more zombie blood-splattering. And there wasn’t nearly enough of that.
It’s present day and a group of film students are shooting a zombie/mummy film in the woods. When they hear on the radio about the world being attacked by zombies, the adventurous director Jason (Joshua Close) leads his crew into the zombie danger zone to capture the action first-hand verite-style. The crew is led on journey of discovery, fighting and eventually fleeing from the zombies.
In many ways it’s also a mockumentary as the entire film is shot from the point of view of the director’s two cameras. For Romero to parody “The Blair Witch Project” is almost 10 years too late. This post-modern approach is a tired storytelling technique – even as applied to zombie genre. Does he forget that the Zach Snyder version also used the camcorder as a character?
Romero uses over-dramatic delivery and self-reverential one-liners as his dialogue in the film. He’s intending the film to appear as if it were made by student. At times it was quite funny – especially the deaf Amish man who uses a scythe to fight off the zombies on his farm, but most times during the faux filmmaking and point of view narration from the director we all just wanted to see some more zombie carnage.
During the screening there was some forced laughter from the hardcore fanboys – they as well tried very hard to like the film, but few, if any, really did.