Day of the Dead (2008)
Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Ving Rhames, Mena Suvari, Michael Welch, Pat Kilbane, Nick Cannon
Directed by Steve Miner
In 1985 genre legend George A. Romero unleashed "The darkest day of horror the world has ever known." Then in 2005 James Dudelson and Taurus Entertainment shit out a sequel so impossibly bad with Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (review here) that my senses continue to reel in disbelief. Well, here it is 2008. Contagium is still not a word, and we are discussing a new remake that will no doubt send Romero fans into an absolute frenzy. Day of the Dead has come home and the results are ... well ... Let me just start from the beginning.
A few years ago Zack Snyder shocked dead head's the world over by releasing a new version of Dawn of the Dead that was not only watchable, but actually quite good. Its success came from the fact that what he did was essentially just give fans more Dawn of the Dead. Once lightning struck, the powers that be decided remaking Day was the next logical step. However, this isn't a sequel to the new Dawn, and other than some character names, it bears absolutely no resemblance to the original Day. What we have here is a flesh-tearing monstrosity all its own. Let's rehash the story.
After a town in Colorado is quarantined because of a viral outbreak, soldiers are sent in to keep the townsfolk hushed while the government figures out what to do to remedy this quickly spiraling out of control problem. People aren't dying per se, but they are becoming rapidly infected by this new airborne germ. What happens upon infection? Well, they lose all control and begin the process of accelerated rotting. From there it's all rip rip, chew chew, tear tear.
Are they zombies? I don't know. In fact, I have no clue what they are. There's long been a debate ... shambling zombies or running zombies? Here we are presented with neither. In fact, what we get can only be described as Cirque du Zom-bie™. These things not only run, but they also possess the ability to leap, flip, and even crawl around on walls and ceilings. I shit you not. On top of that they also move in hyper-speed. In what could quite possibly be the silliest technical decision in horror movie history, the camera is sped up almost every time one of the dead things is on screen to near Benny Hill type speeds and proportions. As I watched this my mouth just hung agape while I shook my head. It couldn't possibly get worse, could it? Yes! In addition to being on permanent fast-forward, our creatures' heads explode whenever they touch fire. Um ... what?!? I just don't know, man. I just don't know.
There is a bigger problem than the way the dead are represented though. A living and breathing problem. A problem known as -- Nick Cannon. Sweet Jesus, what did we ever do to get a character so poorly stereotyped as this? Without question, Cannon's portrayal is, dare I say it, even more embarrassing than that of the black guy in The Fog remake. In fact, he makes that jackass seem like Mandingo by comparison. Every time he opened his mouth and regurgitated dialogue like "That was gangsta" or "Yo! Survivas", I had to fight back the urge to call the N.A.A.C.P. and complain. There's no doubt most of this clown's lines were improvised (no one could possibly write anything this cliché), and shame on Steve Miner for not reeling him in.
If there's anything good I can say about this flick it's that it has a shit-ton of gore and I was never bored. In fact, once you realize how absolutely ridiculous this whole affair is, you may even start having fun just by seeing how far into the realm of idiocy the filmmakers are prepared to go. Heads explode, limbs fly, bodies are bitten and torn -- albeit all in CGI, but still. You have got to at the very least appreciate the carnage. Despite all that, this Day of the Dead is nothing more than a popcorn flick aimed directly at the head of sixteen-year-old kids that don't know any better. I may even watch it again under various influences just to laugh at the absurdity of it all.
In the end, I didn't leave this latest foray onto needlessly retread sacred ground with anywhere near the bad taste left in my mouth that I expected there to be. For all its shortcomings, and wow there are a lot, I have to wonder if this film would have fared differently if it was called something, ANYTHING else. Oh, who am I kidding? No matter how you slice it, as is this one is just plain dead on arrival. See you in about five years when someone decides to remake Land.
2 out of 5