Diary of the Dead

Release Date: February 18, 2008
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Monday, December 31, 2007
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They don't look like zombies.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
12/31 John Seal Zombies with a dash of politics. Yum.
39/98 David Mumpower Mr. Romero keeps making zombie movies and I keep enjoying them. There aren't many new ideas here, but it's still a lot of fun.

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George A. Romero is the standard-bearer for the zombie film. Though others have created fine movies that feature these (usually) shambling creatures over the years, the genre owes a debt to Romero, who not only used the zombie flick for scares, he created a healthy dose of social commentary as well.

He began with Night of the Living Dead in 1968, a movie that is remembered today as one of the greatest horror films ever as well as being a fascinating treatise on the Cold War and racism in the '60s. A decade later, Romero's Dawn of the Dead, the movie many consider to be his best, was released. It explored what life might be like if zombies really did take over the country, all the while knocking consumerism and materialism thanks to its mall setting. Day of the Dead followed in 1985, upping the ante on the gore and taking a distinctly darker point of view.

Romero stayed away from his zombie theme for 20 years, but in 2005 his Land of the Dead hit theaters, where it made $20 million against its budget of $15 million. Audiences had a fairly tepid reaction to the film, perhaps desensitized to the type of violence it portrays as torture porn was coming to the forefront during this time frame.

Undeterred, Romero returns to the zombie trope one more time, though he now says that he is re-booting. Diary of the Dead. Produced independently through Romero-Grunwald Productions, the movie was picked up for distribution by the Weinsteins for $2.5 million after it made its debut at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. The story focuses on some film students who are creating an independent horror film about a mummy. Soon, however, they realize that they are trapped in a world of flesh-eating zombies. Instead of filming the mummy flick, they switch off to a documentary about their own experiences.

At this point, the Weinsteins plan on a small-scale release initially, which might be exactly the proper approach to take given the small, devoted following Romero has. Look for Diary of the Dead to have plenty of attention as it platforms thanks to the great Romero name that is attached. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Diary of the Dead
Main Cast Nick Alachiotis, Matt Birman, Joshua Close
Supporting Cast Laura DeCarteret, Amy Ciupak Lalonde
Director George Romero
Screenwriter George Romero
Distributor The Weinstein Company
Rating R
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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