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Diary of the Dead
The movie begins with some news reporters filming a story about the death of an immigrant couple and their child. As they are wheeled out of their apartment building on a gurney, the mother and the child suddenly wake up and attack the emergency services crew on site. Both are shot in the head, but not before biting quite a few of the people.
After an introduction to the zombie documentary ('The Death of Death') mostly filmed by Jason Creed, a film student at the University of Pittsburgh, the film cuts to the group of students filming a mummy horror movie in the woods, with Jason directing. The actor playing the mummy, Ridley, is lectured on the way a corpse moves and the make-up artist, Tony Ravelo, on not doing a good enough job on the make-up of the zombie. While the group argues, another student named Elliot declares that something strange is on the news. All the students, and their supervising professor hear the reports of the dead waking, and Tony scoffs at the news. After hearing the report, Ridley decides to head to his home in Philadelphia, along with Francine, another student.
The group gets into their Winnebago and head over towards the university dorms to pick up Debra, Jason's girlfriend. Entering the abandoned dormitory, he finds Debra in her room, attempting to get through to her parents, but to no avail. On the laptop next to her is the news report that was shown at the beginning of the movie. They get on the road once more, and Jason requests that each of the people introduce themselves to the camera, because he believes what is going on will be a part of history, and wants to document everything. Each of the group members introduce themselves hesitantly, starting with Mary, the driver, and moving to Debra and Tony, then to Elliot, Gordo and his girlfriend Tracy, and finally their professor Andrew Maxwell. While they drive, they encounter a car accident on the side of the road, where a State Trooper slowly stumbles towards the caravan. The students are frightened as he looks as though he has been fried from the fire of the accident. He begins to pound on the door, and the group quickly drive off, running over three other zombies as they escape.
Mary falls quickly into depression as she realizes that she has murdered three people. Stopping for a break outside, Mary shoots herself with a pistol she was carrying, prompting the group to panic. Discovering that she still has a pulse, they rush to an abandoned hospital, looking for help. The group splits up, and Gordo hears a chaotic radio transmission. The group eventually find a doctor hidden behind a curtain. They call for his help, only to discover that he is a zombie. After firing shots into his torso, they realize the only way to put an end to him is to shoot him in the head. After killing him, an undead nurse starts to stumble towards them. After losing its eyes due to Debra zapping her head with a defibrillator, Gordo puts an end to her.
Running out of battery for the camera, Jason opts to stay with a comatose Mary while it charges. He hears Debra screaming, but remains where he is, not wanting to leave his camera. Debra comes back, with another video camera in hand, and lectures Jason about his documentation being more important than their lives. Mary suddenly groans as she begins to turn into a zombie. The professor confiscates the pistol from Gordo's hands and kills Mary. On their way out of the hospital, a zombie patient bites Gordo in the arm before Elliot stabs the patient in the head with an IV pole.
A few hours later, the group bury Mary, and Gordo is dead. Tony prepares to shoot him, but Tracy stops him, pleading for him to wait and see whether he will turn. Gordo then wakes up, and Tracy kills her boyfriend herself. They get on the road again, only to have the caravan break down due to a broken fuel line. They find a barn and its deaf owner, Samuel, an Amish man. After repairing the fuel line, the group prepare to leave, but Samuel is bitten and stabs himself in the face with a scythe, thus killing the zombie behind him in the process.
The group encounter a band of survivors who have stocked their warehouse with supplies. After some negotiations, the groups leader allows them to take as many provisions as they need. Meanwhile, Jason uploads the footage he has shot so far on the net, and gets 72,000 hits within 8 minutes. Debra receives a text message from her little brother, claiming they are safe and heading home. Just before leaving, Ridley calls Jason via webcam and invites him over to his mansion in Philadelphia. The group gather some supplies from the warehouse aand prepare to leave. However, one of the men in the warehouse dies, prompting a search. After an accidental shooting of one of the still living, the zombie attacks Jason and Tony. Thinking quickly, Tony kills the zombie by smashing its head with hydrochlohoric acid. Slowly, the zombie's head melts away, and it collapses. After getting weapons from the only white man seen in the warehouse, the group drives to Debra's home. When they arrive, they find Debra's parent's car in the garage with the passenger window smashed and bloody. As they search the house, Debra is ambushed by her undead brother, who is quickly killed by Professor Maxwell with a bow and arrow. Debra also finds her mother who had been chewing on her father. She is also killed by the professor, who claims that they need to leave.
Deciding to head over to Ridley's home, the group encounters the National Guard, who stop them. After ordering Jason to turn the camera off, they quickly take all their supplies, save for their weapons, and drive away, leaving the students with no food. They arrive at Ridley's home, only to find the front door open. Searching the home, Ridley surprises them as he comes out of a panic room. Tracy and Jason go and unload the caravan while Tony films Ridley going through the kitchen, looking for some food. His strange behavior alarms both Tony and Debra, who ask where Francine and his family are. He claims that they are all dead, and that he has buried them. He shows the two their bodies, who have been carelessly dumped into the swimming pool, still moving, but not before Tony noticing a bite wound on Ridley's hand. Ridley quickly turns, and goes outside where Jason is filming Tracy unloading the caravan. Ridley suddenly attacks her, but she manages to run. Jason follows them with his camera, and distracts Ridley as Tracy smacks a stick into Ridley's back, knocking him out.
Angry that Jason simply filmed her as her life was in jeopardy, she takes the caravan and drives off on her own. Elliot dries his hair with a blow dryer as he is ambushed by Ridley, causing him to fall into the tub and killing him from electrocution. Professor Maxwell suggests they head into the panic room after seeing Elliot's death on the monitors, but Jason refuses, claiming he doesn't want to be shut off from the rest of the world. He lies that he'll go into the panic room, and while the rest of the group are busy stocking up, he sneaks away, only to run into Ridley. The group hears the commotion and find Jason being bitten by Ridley on the ground. Ridley's head is sliced in half by the professor, leaving Jason lying on the floor. He begs Debra to shoot him, which she does.
Vowing to continue his movie, Debra uses the camera and takes Jason's place and begins to record their actions. They spot a lot of zombies breaking into the mansion and a dead Elliot walking around the house. The professor quickly locks the panic room door as the zombies move inside the house as we await their fate. The movie ends with Debra explaining how inhumane some humans were, and questions whether they were worth saving.
Review by white_raven23: Finally, someone does the “Reel” horror right….and it was George Romero. It was a phenomenon that began with Blair Witch Project, a trend more recently pushed back into the limelight by the likes of Cloverfield. But all the prior “live” filmed horror movies made ONE mistake that Romero did NOT make in Diary of the Dead. And my stomach thanks him for it. Diary of the Dead is specifically absent of JigglyJogging camera work. Any sudden camera movement is mercifully brief. It’s like Romero actually took the time to CARE that the major quality that makes so many home movies unbearable, is not the banal content of watching someone else’s kids bicker at the beach for the 20th time, but the nausea inducing camera work. Pans from person to person are cautiously slow instead of ripping from face to face and blurring the surrounds. I did not feel hung over when I walked out of the theater. In fact…it wasn’t until I thought about it today that I realized it. Romero had done a First-person “live” movie perspective film without giving me motion sickness. With this movie, he clearly and openly disputes the “viral Speedzombie” perpetuated by the Dawn remake. In Land, he only clearly disputes the Dawn remake (virus theory) in the director’s cut. In Diary…its back to zombies as he meant them to be, slow, shambling, and the inevitable end result of death by any means other than severe cranial damage. You hang yourself to escape from zombieworld? Your corpse is coming back to life. You die peacefully of old age in bed? Your loved ones will be bringing back the Old Time purpose of having a ‘Wake’ to make sure you stay down. And with Diary, we have come full circle back to the beginning. The socially appropriate message in Night comes all the way back around. Our most threatening enemy has been, and always will be, ourselves. The one theme in Romero’s Dead movies that has never changed. The tools have changed, we’ve traded the analog antenna tvs in for live streaming 24/7 internet, cell phones have replaced the rotary, and we can have cameras and alarms watching our homes every minute. And it just doesn’t matter. The tools changed, but human nature has not. We still panic, we are still afraid of the dark, and we still blunder screaming where we should tread slowly and quietly. We deny to our dying breath that the comfortable rules of life have changed, even as a walking corpse chews our lips off. Damn beautiful movie!
Review by Spraymachine: While not high on action, running for dear life, mass killing, or very violent scenes, it is still a decent zombie flick. I was somewhat disappointed that is came from Romero. I would give it a 2.8/5, while all of Romero's other movies are 3.75+. I was thinking that since they were all film students, they would of seen enough zombie movies to know how to deal with zombies, but they weren't especially knowledgeable. Overall, the movie had a slow pace.
Review by Survivor_Gill:
Well, folks... this is it. Romero's days of making classic zombie films is dead, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. After being thoroughly dissapointed with Romero's Land of the Dead, I was hoping that Diary of the Dead was his was of creating distance and to reassert himself as the king of zombie films and to establish himself in the new era of zombie-fans. Sadly, that was not what this film was. This film instead established the sad fact that the quality of Romero's films is spiraling down. Resorting to cheat CGI and poor effects to create a stop-gap in the empty rollcall of actual special-effects artists.
This film touches down on a few of these issues brought up in recent years by writings such as David Wellington and Max Brooks, but stupendously fails to investigate the grittier aspects and the indepth conflicts taking place. Instead it was replaced with a weak narrative by the cameraman and his neurotic, obtuse outlook which audiences fail to identify with.
This movie really isn't even worth your time for the zombie lore. It's weak in all aspects. The acting is abysmal, so are the zombies, so it the atmosphere, it's all bad.
Review by AnimateBlade:
- I enjoyed the action, what there was of it. Not overly stylised.
- Portrayal of elements that few think about, such as human enemies (raiders etc), emotional stress, use of environment (the pool idea was a great one).
- The nerdy kid Elliot going ape-shit on a z with an IV pole, hilarious.
- Limited camera shakiness.
- The Amish guy
- Implication of something else in the head of a zombie - pushing a shopping trolley is not in the curriculum of a being with the sole purpose of creating death.
- The dialogue. I really hate it when script writers attempt to put some sort of philosophical view into the mouths of people that obviously aren't capable of that. And that whole 'see how it feels to have a camera in your face' scene just made me cringe.
- Was a bit slow and shallow, overall. Kinda like a zombie...
- The kid with the camera was about as smart as the zombies. In fact, the only smart people in the entire movie were the drunk and the leader of the militant group.
- Some of the acting dropped below the movie's average standard.
- Was never really explained how untouched dead people were re-animating.
- Did Debra knock Zombie Ridley out?
- How does a kid with limited knowledge of firearms pull off three successive headshots?
I wasn't overly impressed, but I didn't get up and walk away from it either. A passable zombie flick. I'd give it a 3/5.
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Keyword tags: Diary of the Dead
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|SasquatchJim||Question.||5||Sep 26 2009, 4:44 PM EDT by SasquatchJim|
Thread started: Sep 25 2009, 11:11 AM EDT Watch
This is just a random question about this movie.
In the beginning, when they're all in the woods, the blond girl (not Tracy) says "What was that?" and turns and looks into the woods. can you actually hear anything when you're watching. I couldn't hear it on my TV.
|Oetierules||Weapons in this movie.||11||Sep 6 2009, 12:55 PM EDT by bamoh|
|usmcfr888||ugh||15||Jun 18 2009, 9:06 PM EDT by Carnack|
Thread started: Jun 17 2009, 9:11 PM EDT Watch
quite possibly the worst romero flick i have seen to date. I just see nothing appealing about it. the acting sucked, the gore was ok, the basis was weak (as is the basis of the disease in every romero flick) its just ridiculous. I do like that it was shot like a documentary but half of the stuff that happened in the movie was just so ridiculous, the spread of the disease especially lol the clown attacking the dad haha. Unrealistic happenings. Overall, worst Romero flick (i wont say worst zombie movie in general because the ones on the sci fi channel give this a run for its money)
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