by Philip Ellwood, Tuesday 4th October 2005
‘Land Of The Dead‘ has been a long time coming. Director George A Romero is back at the helm of his zombie franchise after 20 years. Romero‘s last zombie flick, ‘Day Of The Dead‘, was released in the mid 80‘s but after the revival of the horror genre (thanks to many remakes) Romero is back to show them how it should be done. Can ‘Land Of The Dead‘ live up to its promise?
Well the answer is kind of yes and no. ‘Land Of the Dead‘ is an adequate film. The story follows the last surviving humans trying to cope with life after zombies have taken over the earth. The rich people have barricaded themselves into a multi-story complex filled with luxury apartments and the illusion of what the world used to be. Outside the complex, the poorer members of society live on the streets in fear and put their faith in Riley (Simon Baker) and his team to protect them from the zombies.
Dennis Hopper is over-the-top as multi-millionaire Kaufman, the man who has helped divide the rich from the poor. He plays the role with a maniacal grin and his every move suggests that he is a manipulative madman. Normally this kind of acting would be considered awful but in the context of the movie it works. ‘Land Of The Dead‘ is very much a B-movie but you get the feeling that it isn‘t trying to be anything else. Simon Baker and John Leguizamo play their parts as conflicting comrades fantastically. Their chemistry becomes the heart and soul of the movie and is what keeps the viewers attention.
‘Land Of The Dead‘ could have been better but at the same time it could have been a lot worse. The main problem is that the movie just isn‘t scary. We‘ve come to expect better from Romero and whilst this film does have a very strong message and comments on the structure of society in the 21st Century it rarely manages to be as clever as it believes itself to be.
Overall I did enjoy the movie and as a horror buff I will end up getting the DVD but don‘t go expecting it to redefine the genre that Romero had a large part in creating. Take your partner or go with your friends and be entertained - despite its flaws it‘s still worth a look. If it‘s a more hardcore horror movie your after though go and see ‘Wolf Creek‘.
Certificate - 15
Distributor - Universal
Director - George A Romero
UK Release Date - Friday 23rd September 2005
Celebrities Worldwide Rating - 7 out of 10