Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Survival of the Dead (2009)

survivialDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Alan Van Sprang, Joshua Peace, Hardee T Lineham, Dru Viergever, Eric Woolfe, Kenneth Welsh, Julian Richings, Wayne Robson, Kathleen Munroe


Plot: On an island off the coast of North America, local residents simultaneously fight a zombie epidemic while hoping for a cure to return their un-dead relatives back to their human state.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: This Was Bad


Story: Survival of the Dead starts as we meet Sarge (Van Sprang) who decides to take his men away from the army to fend for themselves. We also meet a small family on Plum Island where O’Flynn (Welsh) and his family clean up their small island for survivors, but this only leads to conflict between him and another family the Muldoon (Fitzpatrick).

When the soldiers find themselves in the middle of the battle between the two families they learn that the zombies are not the only enemies they have to face in this world.

Survival of the Dead is the 6th instalment of the franchise and this film takes place in the same universe as the Diary of the Dead film where we follow the military men who rob our heroes in that one. The problem here is we get an awful story about two rival families wanting the island to save themselves. There is not a single redeemable character in this film and it could easily be considered the worst of the whole franchise. Just don’t get me started about the awful accents being used throughout either.


Overall: Worst of the bunch by a very long way.




Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Diary of the Dead (2007)

diaryDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close, Shawn Roberts, Amy Lalonde, Joe Dinicol, Scott Wentworth, Philip Riccio, Chris Violette, Tatiana Maslany


Plot: A group of young film students run into real-life zombies while filming a horror movie of their own.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Found Footage Yay, Character Decisions No


Story: Diary of the Dead starts by taking us away from the original universe to the very start of the outbreak in the modern era of technology as we watch Jason Creed (Close) who makes a film about what happened with the original outbreak.

Jason has an idea to film the events of the outbreak with his fellow film makers, his girlfriend Debra (Morgan), Tony (Roberts) Tracy (Lalonde), Mary (Maslany) to mention a few. We watch their travel across country to find out how safe their families are.

Diary of the Dead takes out of the world we have come to know but it does take us to a world where the madness of the human curiosity into death has taken over the world as people want to see the outbreak happening on the internet. This continues to show Romero has the ability to evolve into the modern horror trends bring his own stamp to the found footage style film and once again bringing the new kills to the zombies with some of the most original of the time. On the negative we have to look at the poor character decisions in a world where they are actually making a horror movie the characters do seem to have no idea how to make rational decisions in a horror situation.


Overall: Wonderfully shot but poor character decisions loses a lot of the tension which should be created in the film.




Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Land of the Dead (2005)

landDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy, Eugene Clark, Joanne Boland, Tony Nappo, Jennifer Baxter


Plot: The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city to protect themselves as they come to grips with the situation.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Good Addition to Franchise


Story: Land of the Dead starts us to a world where the zombies now control as we meet Riley (Baker), Charlie (Joy) and Cholo (Leguizamo) who go out at night to find supplies for the rich in the safely guarded city. On their nights out collecting supplies the humans uses Sky Flowers (fireworks) to distract zombies but one Big Daddy (Clark) has stopped being distracted and has started to lead the zombies in a new life with fragments of their previous one.

Riley has kept his nose to the ground to get his freedom from the runs while Cholo is always looking for a way to buy his freedom which means putting others at risk. The man they are both looking to for attention is Kaufman (Hopper) leader of the rich in the highest tower in the island.

When Cholo go goes rogue the city is torn apart by the smarter zombies who don’t get distracted that easily and it is Riley’s chance to be free of the city after making a deal with Kaufman to bring back Cholo and the weapons he has taken.

Land of the Dead is yet another great addition to the series, while it isn’t going to break any boundaries like the original trilogy did but solid action related zombie film. While it does follow the same formula, group of survivors are safe but soon their safe heaven is overrun by zombies leaving few alive we get to see it in a different light when it comes to number involved. The special effects have become a lot more realistic which I find takes away from the horror because the original was terrifying to see. The idea the zombies have continued to evolve is a huge plus because this seems to be the only franchise that accepts the idea that this could happen. On the negative we see the first film without the strong leading lady which has to be consider a step back for a franchise which has always had very strong leading characters both male and female.


Overall: Fun action horror film that is easy to watch




Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Day of the Dead (1985)

dayDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato, Jarlath Conroy, Anthony Dileo Jr, Richard Liberty, Sherman Howard, Gary Howard Klar


Plot: A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fitting Conclusion to Trilogy


Story: Day of the Dead starts by taking us to the world now completely over run with zombies as we follow a group of survivors including Sarah (Cardille), John (Alexander), Miguel (Dileo Jr) and Rhodes (Pilato) who are hiding out in an underground military bunker.

We see the tensions rising early on between the military side and the scientific side within the bunker as Dr ‘Frankenstein’ Logan (Liberty) has been working finding out more about the zombies. When the tensions reach boiling point we see the base breakdown much like how we have become familiar with through the series of films.

Day of the Dead was set to be the final part of the original trilogy and it continues to bring us further into the world overrun by zombies. This time we don’t get any build up to who these characters are but we know the relationship between the two different minds has been strained to the limits, this is a huge plus because too often we spend time having to meet characters and work out their relationships. Another interesting plus to this film is the concept behind trying to teach the zombies as we look into the idea they will be learning from what has been happening. This might well be the weakest of the three films but it does have one of the most iconic scenes with Bud the zombie using the gun.


Overall: This is the weakest off the three but still a classic in it own right.




Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Dawn of the Dead (1978)

dawnDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H Reinigner, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford, David Early, Richard France


Plot: Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: The Ultimate Classic Zombie Movie


Story: Dawn of the Dead starts as we see the panic of the original outbreak of the zombies where Stephen (Emge) trying to arrange Francine (Ross) to join him in getting out of the town. While they plan their escape police units are planning a bust on building where Roger (Reiniger) and Peter (Foree) form an alliance to escape the undead waves.

The four head off in a helicopter as they get to witness the destruction going on across America. Searching for safety the survivors find themselves coming across a new shopping mall, all locked up with few zombies inside.

Finding the mall has everything they need to survive the four survivors plan to clean out the mall before making it their safety zone as they see the number of zombies grow each day outside the mall.

Dawn of the Dead takes a look at the wave of consumers that took over America with the shopping malls being built which drove people to these malls over the small town business. Think of it like them all acting like zombies being pushed in one direction. This is the big political message behind this film which gets see loud and clear now. I do think this is one of the most interesting and best zombie movies ever made with the fact the group find what is an actual safe place and continue to make it safer for their survival. The special effects as terrifying for the time where we see the zombies take literally bites out of the people like they are pieces of cake.


Overall: Easily the greatest zombie film ever put to film.