February 7, 2016

Why DIARY OF THE DEAD sucked pt.1

[Posted by Ted H]

This is a cry for help...Intentionally watching this movie on a critical level is considered by some to be self-destructive behavior...But my pain is your gain...


[Why DIARY OF THE DEAD sucked pt.1]

*I will spoil the shit out of this movie in this review. You have been warned*

Welcome back to HELL! Recently, I was feeling a bit masochistic and decided it was as good a time as any to review Diary is a similar fashion to what I did previously. This is a cry for help, because I was contemplating suicide by the end of Land of the Dead the last time I did this. Once again, I clearly do not own this movie personally, so I stole it from my brother.

Anyway, some history for me with this movie. When it was announced, I kept my expectations tapered. Land burned me already and I wasn't ready to trust Romero so quickly. Romero scaling it back from the huge production his previous movie was gave me some hope though, as did the announced storyline. I still skipped it in theaters and waited for it to come out on DVD where I rented it. I began watching it with a mixture of hope and dread, and by the end only dread remained. I let Romero do it to me again. It began well and I let myself get excited, only to be let down all over again. This has become an abusive relationship.

Let's just get this over with...

Part 1: Dear Diary...

Let's open up high. Camera man setting up for a news report. Some murder-homicide went down and everyone is going about it like just another day in the world. Obviously this is before the zombie apocalypse starts. It all looks to be setting up for a "Surprise! Zombies!" beginning to the apocalypse akin to Night of the Living Dead where Barbara and Johnny were simply going to the cemetery before they unwittingly entered hell.

-Then the voiceover begins; The woman who I will despise the most out of this entire movie, and there were a lot of takers for that position.

She talks about how what we're watching is footage uploaded by the cameraman as his way of getting the "truth" out. The scene was fine without the voiceover. We didn't need the woman narrating, but Romero did to set up the rest of his intro. The scene however, would've worked as is. Show these assholes assuming it was just another day, enter zombies, show how everything kinda went to shit. Luckily the woman shuts up and lets the magic happen, and the only genuinely good scene in this entire movie plays out.

Then the voiceover continues. To be fair, I hate the voiceover in retrospect because I know how the rest of this movie goes. In the moment, I give it a pass. To Romero's credit, it was needed to setup the opening. Sure, he could have let it all play out silently-just let the montage of the world falling apart play out. But that's been done before. Sure, the woman comes off as a bit preachy and hipster-like, but whatever.

"We made a film" is said as "The Death of Death" flashes on screen before the woman continues "Actually, Jason wanted to make it." So we know right now, whoever Jason is-he's already dead. Sure hope he isn't a major character in this, because the only drama associated with him in every life-or-death situation he'll find himself in will be "Will this be the thing that finally does him in?".......Actually, no. Either he dies (or gets infected) right away, or he'll be everything proof until the end where some lame thing happens that'll kill him off for the sake of killing him off.
The woman begins to talk about what kind of cameras were used and who did what and how she did the final cut and WHO THE FUCK CARES!?!?!?! She also said she added music n shit in an attempt to scare you...I'm guessing the actress accidentally read Romero's linear notes on the movie and George decided "What the hell, I'll leave that in" while editing the voiceover.

"Anyway, here it is...Jason Creed's The Death of Death." So yeah, another reminder that Jason is a dead man.....also "The Death of Death"? Really? Even by college film titles that's retarded. Then again, this is Romero's 5th [blank] of the Dead movie, so originality in titles clearly isn't his strong suit.

We begin in the movie where some cheesy crap is happening. I'll ignore this. For all I know it was intentionally cheesy since it's suppose to be college kids making some stupid monster movie for a class project. The only fault on Romero was he forgot to tell the actors to stop acting cheesy for the rest of the movie. Anyway, more college kids bantering between each other that I choose to ignore because it's college kids bantering.

Enter: the professor, almost down to a cliché the way he acts. Normally, I'd rally the fuck against the guy, but he's pretty much my Creative Writing professor from college, except he's a dude. So while I plan to harp on and on against the characters in this movie, this guy will get [mostly] a pass since the real world has given me an example of him. Go figure. The most over the top character in this film is the most believable. I still think Romero pulled this off by accident.

Some other guys comes in with the usual "Guys, you should check this out. Something's happening out there." Whatever. At this point, I'm gonna take a moment to bring up the question as to why the camera is still on. He's filming a movie (also, why is the director also the camera man?) so why is behind the scenes stuff being filmed? They established that they're 4 days over a 3 day shooting schedule, so they've been doing this for a week. Resources are finite, stop wasting film (or memory) on trivial shit. Sure, the argument he was having on film with the makeup guy could be thrown up to shit happening in the moment and he forgot to stop filming because he's so far up his own ass over his "vision" but when his friend shows up to mention something weird is happening out in the world, that should be a good time to cut the film.

Yeah....this is a movie comprised of all the film student camera shots and this next part is important, but it's unnatural and stupid...and it's far from the last time this happens. Maybe strictly making this movie a "found footage" type of film was a bad choice. Maybe make only certain parts shot from the perspective of film students and the rest shot like a traditional movie? Probably would have been odd, but it still would have been better than what we got.

Anyway, the news says the dead are returning to life, some characters banter over the believability of it all, then some unknown sound in the woods scares them. Couple people run away and Jason decided to return to his girlfriend at the campus. This movie has started off fine. Not great, but the foundation has been laid out for something truly memorable. The beginning is fine, the premise is solid and it all has the potential to end fairly well as long as the actors don't fuck it up.

The actors fucked it up. They fucked it up bad. The acting of this movie did not stick the landing....it didn't even maintain flight.......hell, they couldn't even get off the runway. It's like all these actors were actual college students who were legitimately filming some cheesy and stupid monster movie called "The Death of Death" when George fucking Romero walked out to them from the middle of the woods and said "Hey guys, who wants to turn this into a crazy zombie movie?" Then he threw everyone $20 and they all jumped at the idea. Never mind the fact that no one knows how to act, we're in a zombie movie, guys!

This movie was shot differently than the others and was independently produced as opposed to the previous travesty, I get that. But this is a DEAD film by Romero, a big boy director. He doesn't get away with allowing half-ass acting. The actors weren't exactly A-listers, the only notable actor I can remember from this film is the guy who went on to play Wesker in the equally tragic Paul Anderson Resident Evil movies (another set of movies I should rip apart one day), but it's up to the director to make his actors better on film. Sadly though, the script was clichéd at many points, making it near impossible to get a decent job from the actors.

My God, this movie was hampered by so much stupid shit. Like I said, this movie starts off with a solid premise, but it all gets fumbled during the run time and it crosses the finish line dragging its face in the dirt.

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