George A. Romero's return to the world of zombies he pioneered with the groundbreaking 1968 film NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is a kind of 're-boot', as it ignores the events of the past films and begins anew in our current times. Re-boot is also apropos as one of the overriding themes of the film is the saturation of media coverage and available technology that allows us all to document and broadcast the events of our everyday lives.
Starting off with a news report at the scene of a double murder (which happened to be shot across the street from where I'm typing this review) the undead first rise up to chomp upon cops and reporters alike. The film makes ample use of news footage, (including actual footage from what I assume was the Katrina aftermath) webcams, CCT feeds, and the like. The film itself that we are watching is supposed to be the edited footage of a documentary called The Death Of Death, which was started when a group of college kids and their sauced up professor were in the woods filming a student horror film when first reports of the living dead hit the airwaves. Director Jason decides that all most be documented, so he spends the majority of the film attached to the camera, despite the distress of his friends or the dangers they come across as they travel by Winnebago towards every one's respective homes.
Romero's films are usually works of social commentary, and this is no exception. In fact, it's so much so that I felt almost battered by it. Whether it was the voice over of the 'documentary' or the peculiar platitudes of the characters, I was left thinking over and over again "OK, I get it! On with the story please!"
And oh, did I mention this line:
"It used to be us vs. us. Now, it's us vs. them. But they are us."
Moving on... I found that the acting looked like acting (it's not suppose to btw) and the dialogue ranged from clunky to just plain silly. The characters were fairly unlikeable and completely incompetent, except that they were all pretty good shots with that handgun one of the character's happened to be carrying that apparently had the biggest clip ever!
Now this is a zombie movie so I should talk about the kills and the gore, which though fairly infrequent were imaginative and even shocking at times, so at least there's that...?
Bottom line, I went in with only moderate expectations, and even though everyone loves Romero, the lovable grandfather of our collective zombie apocalypse, I have to say that this time's he's struck out big time. :(