Friday, 14 December 2012

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Night of the Living Dead,1990,USA
Director: Tom Savini
Stars: Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman & Tom Towles
''This is something no one's ever heard about, and no one's ever seen before. This is hell on earth.''

Film #57 of The December Project

George A. Romero's 'Night of The Living Dead' is the grandfather of Zombie films, everything from 'Dawn of the Dead' to 28 Days Later' to 'The Walking Dead', owes that film a little bit of gratitude for their creation. Its a testament to a films power when it can still shock and scare modern audiences 44 years after its release, but 'Night' is one of those films, a great film. Like most great films, Romero's classic was subject to a remake (or in this case several) in 1990 the first remake of 'Night of the Living Dead' was released, but it was actually kept in the family so to speak. Taking on the role of Director was special effects Maestro Tom Savini, whom also worked on 'Dawn' & 'Day of the Dead', and writing the screenplay was Romero himself, this had to work, right ?

An epidemic breaks out all over the world, which see the recently deceased return to life. A group attempt to fight of the living dead in a secluded farm house.

First off, this film is light years away from the original, that should be taken into account,but what remake could ever live up to that classic ?With that being said I honestly did not think this film was all that bad. Being a Tom Savini film, the blood and gore was exceptional throughout, Savini continued to prove his is the master of Zombie related effects. Savini's direction is pretty sub par, he was a pretty unexperienced filmmaker, he seems to be just imitating what Romero has done, even resorting to using the same shot types and what not, well I guess if it worked well the first time, why mess with it ? then again I'm sure Gus Van Sant thought the same thing when remaking 'Psycho'.

My biggest problem with the film may just be Romero's screenplay, It almost feels like a carbon copy of his original but with a few minor changes in plot. I honestly thought if this film ended at the 77 minute mark (with the very simplistic gas pump key scene) I would have been very impressed and respected such an ambiguous ending, unfortunately an extra seven minutes are tagged on and turn out horribly. The ending feels like just a ploy for Romero to pipe in his obligatory ''There just like us'' theme, I don't like this mindset at all. Its something that Romero constantly shoves down our throats, and while it worked in his originally trilogy, it fails miserably here and in his future zombie films. Its inclusion here is just completely unnecessary, seeing as its not referenced throughout the film and in the final scene its depicted as the most important aspect. I also disliked Romero's use of dramatic irony in this film, It worked perfectly in the original, but here its heavily added too and it all becomes too much.

The characters are pretty much the same as they were original, other than Barabara, who kind of becomes a badass (the most timid badass ever), but is still the most insufferable character on screen. Patricia Tallman's performance is just horrible, and she has crazy eyes! Tony Todd plays Ben in the film and he was a great choice, because he just kicks so much ass and has such a cool presence.

'Night of the Living Dead' is not a great remake, but is far from the worst I have ever seen. There is plenty of great effects and the location used in the film was perfect I thought. The film suffers heavily from its writing and Romero's inclusion of  the ''Zombies are just like us'' attitude does not work. Overall this is a very passable film, It just made me appreciate the original even more.


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