Day of the Dead (2008) 1 brain1 brain

Alternate Titles:

Day of the Dead: The Need to Feed

Like Day of the Dead 2: Contagium, which borrowed the name from Romero's franchise and not much else, this "remake" of Romero's third film does not seem to have many similarities to the original, other than that some of the characters are soldiers, and there's a somewhat trained zombie soldier called "Bud" (instead of "Bub", the sort-of-famous trained zombie from Romero's Day of the Dead). Whereas Romero's movie is a look into how the government, in the form of the military and government scientists, would deal with a worldwide zombie outbreak, this movie is really just another unimaginative zombie film, with characters running around trying to stay alive, and occasionally bickering with each other to keep things interesting. Speaking of the characters, I feel like this movie is breaking some kind of rule because one of the minor characters, Captain Rhodes, is played by Ving Rhames, who played an unrelated character in the Dawn of the Dead remake. It would certainly be weird if Romero had used the same actor to play different characters in the original trilogy, so it seems like the same should hold for remakes. But as I said above, this "remake" is so far removed from the original that it really doesn't matter.

On top of the uninspired plot, the effects were awful. The makeup was OK, but in order to make the zombies look faster (yes, they're fast zombies), director Steve Miner sped up the film, resulting in a jerky, unrealistic movement. This quickly got annoying, and verged into ludicrous in one scene where a zombie is shown skimming along the ceiling like an insect. Sure, it looks kind of creepy, but it makes absolutely no sense. What, did the zombies get bitten by radioactive spiders too? An interesting note about Miner: he got his start directing Friday the 13th II and III. Since one of the opening scenes of this movie is of teens making out, it seems he has not forgotten his roots.

Mena Suvari helps the movie out by being both a decent actress and easy on the eyes, and Nick Cannon does the best he can with a two-dimensional role, but there really aren't any good characters in this film. The only one that stands out is Bud the zombie soldier (played by Stark Sands), who becomes a zombie but is harmless and still obeys orders, but the reason behind this is so silly that it makes the whole character improbable. (Before he died, Bud was a vegetarian. Apparently this carried over into his undead life.)

This is not a horrible film overall, but it doesn't bring much to the table other than what it borrowed from Romero's film, and precious little of that. If it weren't copying the name of a better film, it would have been instantly forgotten.