Tall, Dark, and Dead – 22 – Day of the Dead
Title: Day of the Dead
Director: Steve Miner
Leads: Mena Suvari, Ving Rhames, Stark Sands
Favorite quote: “It’s not her, not anymore.“
Thoughts: My first reaction to this recent remake of Day of the Dead was distrust. You see, the first few scenes led me to believe that the filmmakers were perhaps attempting to create The Lost Boys of zombiedom, a task that I see as my grand mission in life.
Luckily for me, this was not their intent at all. Soon I was mollified and watching comfortably, pita chips in hand.
Probably the silliest thing about this film is the way the zombie plague is depicted. It is very rare that I actually call a method of zombie genesis silly, being the liberal zombie fan that I am. (Where other zombie fans seem eager to draw lines in the sand regarding what is and what is not a “proper” zombie, I tend to welcome almost everyone under the tent.) Day of the Dead involves an airborne illness that manifests itself in zombieism prior to (or perhaps right at the moment of) death. Some kind of virus or parasite (it isn’t clear) literally breaks down the synapses of the brain and immediately rots the flesh. Like, in seconds. In the wise words of the Internet, WTF?
And yikes, man. The zombies in this movie aren’t just wall crawlers, they’re ceiling crawlers. I never wanna hear ANYTHING about “wah wah I hate Snyder runners” ever again. These are the Olympic athletes of the zombie world.
On the plus side, Miner’s zombies also demonstrate some fascinating behavior, including cooperation, active stalking, and the use of stealth. There also seems to be an undead hierarchy at play, with individuals turning against one of their own who assaults a higher-ranking zombie at one point – but this may only be further evidence of zombie survival instinct and teamwork. (As in, a temporary results-based strategy, as opposed to an actual biological/sociological chain of dominance and submission.) I found myself drawn in by all of this.
As for the individual zombies, well…the Ving Rhames zombie ate part of himself. I guess I’m gonna have to bring that one up during my next, “Why do zombies only eat living flesh?” debate. Darn it. And of course, there’s Bud, the “new, improved, modern” Bub. I actually liked the character of Bud, especially the fact that he ostensibly became a moderately intelligent, docile zombie due to the fact that he was a vegetarian in life. That’s cute. He might have to go on my “I <3 Good Guy Zombies” list.