I just got done watching the 2008 "remake" of Romero's Day of the Dead. I got it from Netflix at the same time that I rented the low-budget Sci-Fi Channel original movie Loch Ness Terror. I thought for sure that Loch Ness Terror would be the crap movie of the two, considering it was straight to cable and the whole premise was just too laughable to pass up. Surprisingly enough though, it was the zombie flick that failed to make the grade.
The fact that I started watching this movie several weeks ago and just now finished it speaks volumes. It failed on so many levels and was so unbelievably bad. I should have been more wary of a direct-to-DVD movie, but anymore, effects are cheap enough that even movies with a shoestring budget can have decent effects and be worthy of at least one watch.
So how did this movie fail so miserably whereas something like Flight of the Living Dead succeeded, if not brilliantly, at least capably? It all boils down to respect for your source material, in this case, the living dead. Day of the Dead broke several zombie rules and as most of the regulars know, nothing pisses me off faster than a zombie movie that does not follow the rules.
My biggest beef with the movie was this whole "the zombies retain a portion of what they used to be." I mean, seriously. Everyone knows that once someone's a zombie, they are no longer the person they were. They are driven solely by the desire to consume human flesh. That's why the "vegetarian zombie" (the guy was a vegetarian prior to becoming a zombie) was so utterly ridiculous. He was able to be around the heroes because he wasn't interested in eating meat. WTF?
Another problem I had was the zombies using guns. Zombies simply lack the rudimentary skills to operate complex firearms. Sure, the FlyBoy Zombie figure comes with a gun accessory, but that whole thing has always puzzled me. But there the undead were, jumping out of windows with automatic weapons, gunning down the survivors. Again, WTF?
Then there's the whole fast vs. slow zombies. I can see the arguments on both sides, but I think, when push comes to shove, I have to come down on the side of slow zombies. Yes, the fast zombies are very scary and they add a dimension of horror that the slow zombies can't muster. However, the whole idea of a zombie apocalypse and the ensuing terror from it lies mostly in the fact that the zombie horde is unstoppable because of its sheer number. Yes they are slow and could, in theory, be beaten back because of their slowness. But it's the fact that they are there by the hundreds that makes them threatening. That, to me, is scarier than a zombie growling and salivating and then running at you faster than a Concorde. But as usual, YMMV. And the fast zombies are probably scarier on screen anyway for a lot of people.
I finished the movie, but it was a huge disappointment. It's probably the first time a zombie movie has really disappointed me. I'm fond of saying that zombie movies are like pizza and sex - even when they're bad, they're still pretty good. But after having watched Day of the Dead, I'll have to be reevaluating that blanket statement.