I always get a little excited when I can see a film before it’s wide release. And as I have mentioned numerous times before, I love George Romero. So I was beyond thrilled to attend a screening of Diary of the Dead with Romero in person. WOW!
Listening to Mr. Romero speak and answer questions after the film reminded me why I adore this man so much. He is a peach. I wish he was my grandpa. His views and opinions closely mirror my own; whether it be politics or simply the rise of the remake. This man speaks the truth! He is clever, witty, well spoken and has fantastically entertaining stories. That is why it PAINS me to say how much I disliked Diary of the Dead.
Part of me wants to rip this movie to shreds. But see above. I just can’t be as mean and negative as I’d like. I truly wanted to enjoy it. That proved nearly impossible. The acting was stiff, one dimensional and lacked any hint of feeling. I’ve seen more emotion in a Kodak commercial. This killed me because during the Q&A succeeding the screening, Romero himself commented on how he doesn’t understand the lack of emotion in modern cinema. Yet he built a film around static characters that you never even care about.
He himself also stated that he builds a story around a sociopolitical theme. Which I dig. That’s one of the reasons why I love zombie films in general. And in my opinion, he is the master of the zombie as a metaphor. Kind of missed that in this installment. I mean, the sociopolitical was there in the form of “new media” AKA youtube, blogs, myspace and the internet in general. That was the goal of this movie, to address those media issues. This is from the mans own mouth, I heard him say this. I like those themes and ideas so much. ERG! This movie was not good!
There were a few chuckles here and there; lots of things to cut the tension that the filmmakers neglected to build. The scares were all pretty predictable. By todays standards there wasn’t much bloodshed. Sure Romero embraces the occasional machete to the head, but all and all his stuff isn’t about the gore.
Put bluntly, this is not a good movie. Really bad acting and emotional voids are never a positive, in any genre. Go see if for yourself. Form your own opinions.