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Survival of the Dead (Blu-ray Review)

23 Jul, 2010 By: Billy Gil

Street 7/27/10
Box Office $0.1 million
$26.98 DVD, $29.98 two-DVD set, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong zombie violence/gore, language and brief sexuality.

The latest chapter in George A. Romero’s epic zombie saga puts a group of National Guardsmen on an island with a feuding family against the backdrop of a world overrun by zombies.

The deserters (who briefly appeared in the previous film in the series, 2007’s Diary of the Dead) wander, looting and fighting for survival until they meet Boy (Devon Bostick, who also appeared in 2005’s Land of the Dead), who tells them of an island to which they can escape the zombie nightmare. Little do they realize they’ll have to deal with the O’Flynns and the Muldoons, a pair of “Hatfields and McCoys”-style feuding families. Muldoon patriarch Seamus thought their undead loved ones should be shackled until a cure can be found, while O’Flynn patriarch Patrick (Kenneth Welsh) believed all zombies should be killed, ultimately leading to his exile from the island and eventual encounter with the deserters.

While the idea of visiting the family-feud concept in the context of Romero’s zombie world is an interesting one, the execution is off. Survival of the Dead alternates between lumbering through its strange plot (much like one of its zombies) and doling out gunfights that may be explosive but ultimately cheapen the proceedings, making it feel more like a “Resident Evil”-style video-game film and less like Romero’s innovative classics that started the series, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, which offered scares alongside social commentary. Fans of militaristic action films may find plenty to enjoy in Survival of the Dead, while others may feel it’s time, after six films and two remakes, to put these zombies to rest.

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