Night Of The Living Dead Re-Animation
It’s amateur hour at the morgue
Director Jeff Broadstreet returns with this prequel to the horrendous 2006 release Night of the Living Dead 3D, only this time ditching Sid Haig and replacing him with the ‘Wishmaster’ Andrew Divoff as our lead character – Gerald Tovar Jr. In order to get the most, or indeed anything out of this movie, you need to check your brains at the door and ignore anything you know about Romero’s “…of the Dead” films as despite the title, that’s all irrelevant here.
In this version, Divoff plays a mortician who has inherited the business from his late father and is charged with cremating the bodies of those exposed to toxic medical waste quickly and discretely. However, before he knows it a backlog of corpses has built up and he is soon visited by estranged brother Harold (Jeffery Combs – in fine snivelling form) who is seeking to take control of the family estate by any means possible.
The film itself is a marked improvement in terms of both script and cinematography over Broadstreet and contributor Robert Valding’s previous living dead effort but it still leaves plenty to be desired as is evidenced by the lack of control over the pacing of the movie and the frequency in which the script degenerates into bland hackneyed conversation, stumbling along much like the corpses in the film. Meanwhile other moments are just baffling, such as a zombie baby kept in the office mini-fridge for seemingly no reason and the pseudo-psychadelic scene where the mortuary assistants get stoned with a corpse, offering up a potential shock moment but as pre usual failing to seize the opportunity and just wither away.
However, it does have some redeeming features, often through the odd immature joke and self-referential quoting with Comb’s character asking what kind of zombies they were before confirming their existence as “Romero zombies” and then going on to state government zombie cover ups with the locations and years of previous …of the dead films providing a nice little fanboy addition to the script which was most welcome.
Further positives of the film could be found in the Fx, a good mix of practical and CGI with heads exploding semi-frequently and quite graphically (and in some cases quite clearly a dummy), although as with everything in this film even when it gets certain parts right it is in a bit that’s wrong. For instance, in the final third we see Divoff knock the jaw off an incoming zombie, and the Fx here are fantastic and vivid, however the actual hitting motion is less realistic than a WWE wrestler who has never had acting lessons.
Meanwhile the look of the zombies themselves is more than functional, as the older corpses display a slimy decaying texture on the whole with the newer ones, as expected merely showing the marks of their unsuccessful struggle and the Fx team are to be commended for their work on this movie,
On the whole, this is not the worse zombie movie I have ever seen but due to the generally flat script and overall dullness of the movie leaves it far from being even a good zombie movie despite the best efforts of two modern horror icons. Plus it has absolutely nothing to do with Romero’s vision of the zombie uprising (bar the odd reference such as to Henry Cooper) and as such is best left to only the connoisseurs of the genre.