Land of the Dead


Okay, so to be fair… he invented the genre, changed the way horror films are made, blah blah blah – I’m not going to reiterate what’s already been said a thousand times about Romero’s body of work. But instead I’m going to be brutally honest. Land of the Dead is a pretty crappy film.

Land of the DeadNow, a zombie film wouldn’t be a zombie film if it weren’t a little dorky and embarrassing, and Land of the Dead is just that. We have good makeup effects, some dismemberment and lots of blood on offer here, but we’ve also got a bad script, dodgy acting and some badly executed action scenes. It’s almost as if Romero has learnt nothing in all his years of experience… The Spierig brothers’ Undead was more successful than this – at least they went all the way and embraced the B-grade-ness, never pretending that they were creating a masterpiece. Romero’s film feels like a straight to video 80s action movie that is desperately trying to be cool but failing on almost all levels.

But wait, you argue… Romero has reinvigorated the genre by having a zombie as a main character! Okay, objection sustained, however this is only a small part of the film, and is pretty much over and done within the first five minutes. Props to the actor, though. With regards to the rest of the cast, they do the best they can. Haven’t heard from John Leguizamo for ages, so it was nice to see him in action, but the cast are simply going through the motions. Dennis Hopper had some of the funniest lines, but overall I couldn’t even enjoy this film for laughs. Comedic moments were few and far between, and the bulk of them were unintentionally funny due to bad dialogue and/or acting.

Land of the Dead was pretty boring. The supposed ‘political undertones’ I have read about are pretty slim at best. Star Wars: Episode III and Batman Begins dealt with such issues with much more clarity. Considering this film was from the ‘master’ of the genre, I would have hoped to have been scared, shocked, excited or amused throughout Land of the Dead. Unfortunately the film provoked none of those reactions. I probably enjoyed The Return of the Living Dead more, and that’s not a good thing.

I hope the resurrection of the genre ends soon, cos I’m just about sick of it. 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead and the remake of Dawn of the Dead were the best zombie films we’d seen in years, and I think everyone else should leave it alone for now. Why doesn’t someone instead try to make a good werewolf film? There have been so few of those…

Rating: 2.0 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 10th August 2005
Hoopla Factor: 1.5 stars

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