Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead (Blu-ray / DVD)
Directed by Douglas Schulze
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
As the resident Romero expert whose favorite movie in the world is the original Night of the Living Dead, it was a no-brainer for me to be the one who reviewed Anchor Bay's release of Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead, a film which walks the line between homage and originality.
In this latest terror tale that's semi-based around George A. Romero's original 1968 masterpiece, a group of friends attending a horror convention are alerted to an invite only after-party which promises to be the hot ticket of the weekend. After some boozing our heroes find themselves waking up the next morning with little to no memory of the previous night's events. All they know is they're in a strange place and wearing clothing that is not their own. In fact most everyone in the film is dressed as a character from Night of the Living Dead. It's not long before the flesh eating begins and everyone finds themselves barricaded in an old farmhouse while fending off the shambling ghouls. So the question beckons, is this really happening? Did our heroes wake up just in time to take part in the most terrifying Night of horror the cinematic world has ever known? Or maybe, just maybe, there's something a bit more nefarious going on. It doesn't take a genius to realize that things could not possibly be what they seem to be, but this is no game. No one is faking it. Real people are losing their lives.
It's truly hard to talk about Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead without spoilers as the film takes several pretty crazy turns on the way to its finale, some of which are truly valid and incredibly relevant to the times we live in. For that it's to be commended. Movies with something to say are few and far between these days, and this one could. and more importantly should. get people talking. Unfortunately some of the usual pitfalls found in little movies like this are also struggling hard to distract you from the onscreen happenings. Characters do some really questionable stuff, such as, well... not just trying to run away. At no point during Mimesis is there ever a true zombie horde blocking our characters' exit. You could argue that they don't know this, but if I see about six people, or zombies for that matter, standing between myself and freedom, I'd be willing to roll the proverbial dice. Some moments were truly in need of a second take, and the film's sound design is questionable, too, as Foley effects and dialogue sound pretty tinny at times. Still, there's more good than bad to be found here, including some pretty decent F/X work and a strong appearance and performance from genre icon Sid Haig. For you NOTLD fans out there, there are even a couple of moments with Zombie #1, the late Bill Hinzman, but unfortunately these feel more on the obligatory side of the fence than anything else.
In terms of special features both the Blu-ray and DVD are comparable as there's only one thing to be found, an audio commentary with director Douglas Schulze and screenwriter Joshua Wagner. This one is a really odd listen as the duo talk more about their opinions on their film and the films of others more than they focus on the onscreen action. Not a great listen but it's serviceable enough.
In the end we have a movie with an excellent premise that's executed in the most standard of ways. But the idea is solid and the message truly trumps the usual low budget doldrums enough to elevate it just over the average mark. Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead is a good rental, but my best guess is that only the extreme Night of the Living Dead uber-fans will be adding it to their collections.
3 out of 5
1 out of 5
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