Survival of the Dead (2009, George Romero)

Romero is just making mediocre genre movies and putting zombies in ’em now. This one’s a dumb 80’s actioner (buncha dudes act tough and spit bad dialogue punctuated by explosions) crossed with a silly-ass Irish family-feud revenge drama… with zombies in it. Shamus Muldoon is warring with Patrick O’Flynn on a small island off Ireland Delaware. One wants to kill all the local zombies, the other wants to keep ’em around attached to chains, like the last few minutes of Shaun of the Dead turned into a pretend-serious idea… “pretend” because whenever the drama threatens to get heavy, the movie throws in some cartoony business to show it’s all in good fun. The comedy destroys the drama since the drama wasn’t so good to begin with. At least Land of the Dead had new ideas (the zombies starting to communicate and organize) and kept some of the satirical edge of the first three. The last couple have felt like GA Romero’s Cash-in of the Dead… funny, since they barely played theaters (but they look cheap as hell so surely still made a profit for someone).

The O’Flynn gang:

Oh yeah, so a four-man army-deserter group are in search of money (why?), team up with a mysterious teen (who turns out not to be mysterious), and follow an exiled O’Flynn back to the island (of the dead) to look for his twin daughters and fight Muldoon, who’s trying to make the dead learn to eat animals instead of people (why?). At the end, the lesson (told to us in voiceover) is that people fight each other for stupid reasons.

The only shot I really liked:

More than one actor in this was also in Boondock Saints II and the Saw series. Mysterious Teen appeared in Land of the Dead and played Rodrick in Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Our beardy hero was also in Land, and I’m pretty sure there’s a plot reference early on to Diary, but any connections to the other films seem like an afterthought. In competition at Venice, either because of that European tendency to fake-appreciate poor American genre flicks, or because they hadn’t seen the finished product when they allowed it in.

Hilarious cartoon explosion-aftermath:

Hilarious cartoon burning-head-used-as-cigarette-lighter: