Diary of the Dead

Friday, February 6th, 2009 Horrorthon Posts / Horrorthon Reviews

I don’t really have the goods for the whole Horrorthon routine on this one. In fact, everything about this post is completely half-assed: I haven’t really seen the movie in question; I haven’t read to see if anyone else here reviewed it; I’m not planning on saying very much anyway; It’s not quite worth uploading a picture.

But I just had to mention that I watched the first half of Romero’s Diary of the Dead last night on my friend Vinny’s enormous flatscreen. (We had just watched Lost, which was beyond awesome, and we were sitting around wondering what else was on his TiVo.)

I thought it was great! I keep giving Romero a hard time because I keep thinking that his whole personal zombie schtick is like a law of diminishing returns; they get worse and worse. His obvious belief that he’s got the universal metaphor and he’s going to keep applying it to each decade can get tiresome. And this new version seemed especially guilty of this; it’s blatantly post-Blair Witch, post-Cloverfield in a very overt way. It’s filled with the same “I can’t believe you’re videotaping this, you insensitive lout”/”Don’t you understand that I have to; the camera’s all I’ve got at this point” schtick that those other movies use as well (but, to be fair, there’s really no way around that if you’re going to make your movie entirely from “found” footage).

But anyway, my complaints melted away almost immediately after the movie began. Romero finds the groove immediately and never loses it, and you suddenly realize, as you’re watching, that there’s just Romero and everyone else (including, I am forced to admit, Zack Snyder, despite his obvious insane talent) is just faking it. Diary of the Dead isn’t necessarily better than Snyder’s excellent Dawn of the Dead, but it’s realer, somehow; more intense, more genuine, more immediate.

I’ll write a real review later, once I’ve seen the rest of the movie. If the second half is anywhere near as good as the first, I’ll be giving it lots of stars.