Review: Day of the Dead 2008 remake

Posted by Cory Casciato On March - 5 - 2010

That's a zombie climbing on the ceiling. Because apparently, zombies do that.

There is so much wrong with the 2008 Day of the Dead remake it is hard to know where to start. For one thing, it has nothing to do with the 1985 George A. Romero film apart from a couple of similar character names and some really fucking stupid references. For another, it’s horribly written and poorly acted. But the biggest problem might just be the spider zombies.

I am a flexible man when it comes to zombies. I can accept running zombies, Rage zombies, gay zombies, intelligent zombies and maybe even the occasional singing and dancing zombie if it’s that kind of movie. But zombies that can jump twenty feet in the air and climb on the ceiling? That’s just fucking stupid. It’s clear the director was just looking to the successful 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake and thinking, “How can we turn things up? The Dawn zombies ran, so mine should be Spider-Man! AWESOME!”

It’s too bad, since they wasted some good actors (notably Ving Rhames, who does almost nothing here), decent zombie make up and effects and a few could-have-been-great action set pieces on such a lousy movie. Not to mention, if you’re going to remake a zombie film from the grand master himself, a modicum of respect is in order — the Dawn remake clearly held a great deal of respect and even affection for the source material, even as they made their own movie. This seemed like no one involved had ever even seen the original — or that they had seen it and they hated it so much they wanted to kill it with fire.

There’s very little plot here, just premise and mindless action. A town gets quarantined by the army due to a weird flu virus. The weird flu virus turns people into zombies. The main characters meet up and try to escape. There are a couple of subplots that go nowhere, a lot of characters that are impossible to care about and those stupid, fucking super zombies. It’s a mess, albeit a decently paced mess full of gratuitous explosions and gunplay.

If you can ignore the dumb-ass spider zombies, the lack of a plot, the horrible characters, mediocre acting, the blasphemy of linking this to Romero and the generally cheap-ass, teen-centric horror movie feel, this has the potential for some very mindless entertainment, especially if you are drunk and have a few friends over to riff on it while it plays. But that’s a lot to ignore — better to just ignore the movie itself.

Day of the Dead/US/2008

11 Responses to “Review: Day of the Dead 2008 remake”

  1. Justin says:

    I don’t think this is a remake, I think that the filmmakers are just capitalizing on an already established franchise that has a lurid history of protecting itself.

    Around the time Day of the Dead: Contagium came out I remember reading articles about the name “Day of the Dead” falling out of copyright so that any Tom, Dick, or Harry could use it as they pleased. This wouldn’t surprise me given the fact that copyrights were never renewed on on Night of the Living Dead so now literally anyone can release a version of the movie.

  2. Jay Clarke says:

    “especially if you are drunk and have a few friends over to riff on it while it plays” — that’s hilarious because that’s exactly how I watched it.

    It’s also funny that as I was clicking on your Twitter link, I was thinking “zombie climbing up the walls” That and Suvari going “It’s okay, I used BLEACH!”

    So terrible.

  3. @Justin – I can;t remember for sure (and god knows there’s no way I am going to sit through it again), but I think Romero got a story credit on it.

    Either way, they definitely wanted people to think it was a remake, and they were probably also hoping they’d believe it was a sequel to Dawn 2004. Hence the Ving Rhames stunt casting, since they barely used him otherwise.

    @Jay – Oh god, the bleach. I had forgotten the bleach.

  4. zman says:

    I agree with Justin, this movie was just film makers trying to cash in on a) the zombie craze right now and b)day of the dead’s name..

    this movie was such supreme rubbish it pains me to think of it.

  5. Yerch says:

    Did you just use “good actors” and “Ving Rhames” in the same sentence?

  6. @yerch – for the limited roles he’s cast in, Rhames usually does a fine job. He’s no Oscar winner, but he’s a fine character actor.

  7. WeaponsTheyFear says:

    There is a zombie clinging to a drop ceiling at that. I can believe in the living dead and the living dead having an insatiable need to devour brain matter, but come on! The drop ceiling would never support that weight!!

  8. @WeaponsTheyFear – Well said, my man. Well said.

  9. Rocknrope says:

    I heard that there was a zombie character in the movie who wouldn’t eat people because he was a vegetarian in real life. That is some dumbass shit.

  10. Zombie Shakespeare says:

    For some reason, super zombies seem a lot less frightening than slow zombies. I guess it just seems less realistic (and we’re all suspending disbelief to begin with, we are talking zombies here).
    Also, people develop open sores on their faces for no reason when they become a zombie! Makes no sense!
    I rank this movie so much lower than all of the Zombie Nights and Zombie Diaries because with a handful of name actors and a decent budget, it should have been so much better.

  11. […] In any case, the fine sci-fi minded folks over at io9 just ran a story about the upcoming production. Evidently, the creative folks behind this film decided to put their zombie extras through some zombie school. It’s pretty interesting to watch what they made people do on camera while keeping a straight face. I think this was a cool publicity gimmick but really … has anyone every seen a zombie movie with unbelievable zombies? (I’m not talking about you, spider zombie) […]

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