July 24, 2016

Why DIARY OF THE DEAD sucked pt5

[Posted by Ted H]

"Prelude in D Flat Major" is the way overused music in this movie. I've learned to hate it.
...Also, the movie was shot in Canada...because Romero's love for Pennsylvania isn't as big as it used to be...

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


[Why DIARY OF THE DEAD sucked pt5]

Part 5: Women and children first!

The overarching plot to this mess is finally reaching its payoff. We have reached Scranton and arrived to Deb's house. After a bit of speculation as to why the house looks abandoned*, Deb decides to abandon the party and urges everyone to get back on the road without her. I am all for this idea. Sadly, this won't happen.

*Did I mention the family was vacationing at the time? And that at one point they managed to get a text out to her that they're ok (at the time) and are driving home? No? Did I gloss over those parts? My bad, I must not have cared. To be fair, the scene where Deb gets a text is right after the 72,000 Myspace views argument and I was still blind with rage at this movie...

Before deciding to leave, Deb looks to the camera (because that's the only way to talk to Jason anymore) and says something along the lines of "I guess I'll call you," like this whole zombie apocalypse thing was more of an awkward first date or something with Jason replying in equally dumb fashion. At this point Jason is committed to the idea that he's gonna leave his girlfriend home alone during the zombie apocalypse to keep filming his Myspace movie. Tony quickly calls bull shit on this and decides to stay with Deb so she isn't alone. Then everyone quickly decides they have their own reason to get off the RV and chill at Deb's house; Girlfriend wants to pee, Elliot wants to play video games, Professor wants to get drunk...I'm not shitting you on any of these reasons...but the only person who has no legitimate stated reason for wanting to stay with Deb is her own fucking boyfriend.

So, upon reflection, it's more and more likely that Jason isn't so much Deb's boyfriend throughout this movie as much as Tony is. Go back and watch some parts of this movie; whenever Deb needs someone to lean on or for general support, it seems like she goes for Tony way more often than she even acknowledges Jason as an option. Maybe because it's Tony actually making an effort for the group to survive, or maybe it's because Deb has silently agreed that she needs to dump Jason for being a dipshit (she just needs to find the right off camera moment to have "that talk") and has already decided Tony makes a fantastic rebound.

Into the house we go and we discover that the family did indeed make it home, but they're nowhere in sight. Deb discovers the abandoned car they drove home on and is pointed to a damaged and bloody window in the front passenger side. So yeah, shit looks bleak. Deb starts freaking out and needs to find them, only for Tony to stop her and explain that they might not be ok. Ya know, gear her up for the worst case scenario...shit a boyfriend would do....while her actual boyfriend silently records it and says nothing. At this point I'm convinced that they did break up off camera.

While Tony is being the concerned apocalypse boyfriend to Deb, you should at this point take notice of the Professor standing over them, rocking out his dumb fucking bow and arrow set and you just know that shit's gonna get shoehorned in this movie now. Just, gear yourselves up now for that. Meanwhile, Elliot and Girlfriend are somewhere else in the house and...not looking for the family? Cuz seriously, how hard is it to find either 3 zombies, 3 scared alive people, or any combination of the two?

Before we continue, I must warn you, this next bit is where the movie fucking dies. Before it was just a shaky plot with some seriously underwhelming acting. But the part where Deb's brother, as a zombie, ninjas over and jumps onto Deb's back (without biting her, because why would a zombie do anything like that?) is the part where the S.S. Diary of the Dead can officially be classified as a sinking ship.

As bad as everything has been to this point, there is still the hope that the final act can deliver and stick the landing. Hell, the final act begins with an empty house and a missing family, with a slow and tense buildup between Tony and Deb. There was a flicker of hope....which was completely extinguished not even ten seconds later by a ninja zombie attack that gets stopped by the Professor shooting an arrow into the zombie's head, sending it flying off of Deb and getting impaled into the wall, leaving the dead zombie to dangle even though weight, physics and reality all argue about the validity of such a shot.

While all this is going on, Jason says and does NOTHING while his girlfriend's life is in danger. He makes no effort to help her. Deb is trying to shake off an attacking zombie that's latched onto her back, and instead of dropping the camera and helping her, he positions himself to getting the best angle of the scene. And you can tell he's doing that because when the view switches to what Elliot is shooting, you can see Jason and his camera doing absolutely nothing to help. Seriously, if she hasn't broken up with you by now, it's officially over, buddy.

Deb runs around some more after her brother is killed (again) and ultimately finds her mother as a zombie eating her father behind the couch. That zombie is killed quickly as well by a arrow shot, with Jason quickly panning over to the Professor as he fires off a one-liner about how it's time to leave (like they fucking practiced that shit or something). This was the payoff of the whole movie thus far. At the beginning the major goal was: get Deb home. It wasn't a great goal, but it was solid. And the end result was a whole bunch of people doing nothing and two zombies being shot with arrows...and the arrows aren't getting any less stupid so fucking stop it already!

Skipping the dumb voiceover, we cut to later on, back on the road. It's clearly night and Jason finally, FINALLY decides to clock in as Deb's boyfriend and tries to comfort her quickly before assuming his preferred role as cameraman. Some quick chastising from a numb Deb and Jason has nothing to say in defense. A minute or two later Jason finally informs everyone that the Mummy-guy from before is alive and invited everyone to his house. I guess that's where this movie is going now while we wait for the ending.

Hey, remember the Amish guy? Me neither, but I distinctly remember that whole scene being fucking pointless. Let's have another pointless scene where some National Guard guys show up and rob the group of all their anonymous supplies that they got from the Black Militia. Remember that part? Yeah, that was totally a thing.

Well, it turns out that this scene was indeed completely fucking pointless for the movie, but that was Romero's point. The National Guard guy is actually the protagonist for Romero's next movie, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. That's right, this movie is fucking done to the point Romero is giving screen time away to a teaser for his next movie.

Next, Romero kills some screen time to show us some more "TRUTH" footage. This time it's a bunch of guys in yellow clean suits and rifles working their way through a building who come across and old couple who are harboring zombies. Everyone is a fucking idiot in this too and there's one cringe worthy part where a guy shoves his rifle in a zombies mouth, shoots through the head and then continues to shoot other zombies through that very hole in a so-dumb-it's-cool scene. All together, it's a way better movie than the one we're in now. Jason comments on this video and his comments are followed by Deb's voice over. Lemme paraphrase...

"It used to be "us" vs. "us". Now it's "us" vs. "them"."

"He's right. Except "them" is "us"."

.................WHAT THE FUCK? Did anyone proof read this script?

We transition to the next part of the movie while watching Deb soundly sleep against her new boyfriend, Tony. Elliot wakes everyone by announcing that they're arrived to their new destination. It's worth pointing out, that we've reached the final location of the film and are approaching the end. It's gonna be time to start thinning the ranks here, which means we're due for some really stupid deaths just for the sake of killing off characters who are reaching the end of their usefulness.
Anyway, the final location turns out to be a fucking mansion. This should end well, so long as no one involved has ever played Resident Evil. Before anyone can walk in the front door though, Jason bitches that they should wait until he can get in position to film it at a good angle...and everyone complies like it's no big deal. Everyone has now officially stopped fighting Jason on this as opposed to the more common reaction of just ignoring him and not complying like this is some school film project.

They go looking around for a bit before Mummy-guy pops out from a panic room. For some reason, he is STILL in costume multiple days after day 0. No one cares since he's all "Make yourselves at home!" and everyone starts splintering off to get killed. Jason also pawns off his camera on Tony while he goes after the other camera left in the RV. Tony bitches about being handed the camera. Normally, he'd just drop it where he stood and walked away, but since character consistency is overrated, he starts filming too. "But isn't Elliot the backup camera guy in this movie?" you may ask. Good question. Too bad Elliot is instead getting into position to get killed in a bit, that's why.

Let's talk about Mummy-guy. Mummy-guy starts off as drunk, and is noticeably detached about the whole zombie apocalypse thing going on. He then reveals that that other chick from way back in the beginning is dead, as is his entire family and house staff. He goes back to show Tony and Deb where he left the bodies (in the process revealing that he'd been bitten) then ninjas himself back into the house before either living person with him notices. Then, despite his ninja stealth, drops dead maybe 10 seconds back into the house, and reanimates before anyone can find his corpse.

Zombie Mummy-guy gets up and makes his way to the front where Girlfriend is unloading the RV with Jason doing nothing to help except film. It's lamp shaded here, but that's no excuse. Mummy-guy attacks Girlfriend and she gets away. Despite Jason being right fucking there, Mummy-guy decides to stumble after Girlfriend. Then we have a lame callback to the beginning of the movie where Jason was trying to direct, right to the part where Mummy-guy reaches for Girlfriend, and grabs her dress to reveal her tits like Jason wanted. Then Girlfriend takes a tree branch and knocks out the zombie.

Lemme repeat that.

Girlfriend takes a tree branch and knocks out Mummy-guy, who is a zombie.

Then she storms off to the RV and drives away alone, with a banjo playing in the background.

This sinking ship of a movie just found a way to also catch fire.

And if knocking out a zombie wasn't ludicrous enough. Two scenes later, it's back up and somehow not only in the house, but also found a way to ninja to the very room where Elliot just got done taking a bath. Then it bites Elliot while he's blow-drying his hair and they fall into the somehow still full bathtub and Elliot gets electrocuted to death.

All the remaining characters meet up and the Professor says that everyone should just get to the panic room while they still can. Oh, and the Professor is drunk. Drunk Professor along the way to the panic room spots some mounted swords and decides to grab one. Now, like the bow and arrow, I should be crucifying this weapon choice...but the Professor is operating on drunk logic at the moment. Drunk logic dictates that a sword would be a kick ass idea. I am totally for drunk logic. I am also behind the idea that being drunk is the only reason anyone untrained should reach for a sword in the zombie apocalypse.

Anyway, Jason doesn't want to go live in the panic room because then his little movie would be over, so he decides to sneak away. As he sneaks, he runs into Mummy-guy zombie (somehow not wet) who managed to ninja his way yet again into a killing position. How the hell did Jason not see him. The camera view was to the floor, so unless Jason was also staring at the ground as he moved, there's no excuse for him walking right into a zombie.

Jason is getting eaten now on the ground and manages to kick the zombie off of him. But instead of running away now, he instead crawls to his fallen camera because I guess it's a good idea for him to film his own death. Then as the zombie crawls back on top and tries to finish off Jason before the Professor dispatches him with the sword in incredible impossible fashion. Seriously, I can excuse the sword selection, but never the idea that a drunk Englishman could actually slice through a human skull vertically with one.

Now Jason is dying (yaaaaaaaaay!) and as he dies in Deb's arms, he asks "shoot me" but instead of handing Deb a gun, he hands her his camera. Deb takes the camera and films herself shooting Jason like it's the ending to a snuff film.

Cut to a flashback sequence where Jason is filming himself at what is assumed to be the beginning of this whole crazy zombie mess. He promises his audience that he's gonna give them the "TRUTH" and everything will be raw and shit. All I have to say is he seems waaaaaaay too excited here. "The dead are returning to life and eating the living, and I cannot wait to film all my friends dying!" He seemed to have forgotten to mention the part where he planned to do jack shit to save anyone, like he was planning a nature documentary.

Back to the present where Tony and the Professor are looking for Deb. Tony finds her first (because he has the camera) and she's smoking in a chair, holding the other camera and vowing to finish this fucking movie...because with Jason dead, all those Myspace views are hers for the taking. That kind of power is dangerous, Deb, wield it responsibly.

Morning comes and both Deb and Tony are filming like fucking idiots while the Professor shaves and tries to get over his fucking hangover. Then zombies are suddenly fucking everywhere and breaking into the house. The Professor closes the door and locks the three of them inside. Was it ever established that there was internet in that panic room? A computer? Food? Bathroom? No? How did they edit the end of this movie? Answers! I demand answers for this cobbled together ending!

Final voiceover where Deb shows us a scene of some rednecks using zombies as target practice. She ends the movie by asking "Are we worth saving? You tell me."

Then I tried to shoot myself in the head to forget this fucking movie. True story.

Next time: My torture ends...

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