Starring: Alan van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh, Kathleen Munroe, Devon Bostick, Richard Fitzpatrick, Stefano Colacitti, Athena Karkanis, Salar Madadi, Joris Jarsky, Matt Birman, Wayne Robson, Julian Richings, George Stroumboulopoulos, Pete Zedlacher, and Mitch Risman.
Directed by: George A. Romero.
Sometimes, there comes a point where every artist loses their touch after much success, then they have to regain that touch again. Such is the case for director and writer George A. Romero with “Survival of the Dead”, his sixth ‘Dead’ film to date. We have come a long way since “Night of the Living Dead”, which was a low budget masterpiece, “Dawn of the Dead” was a mind-blowing successful sequel, “Day of the Dead” was an effective emotional drama set within a desperate apocalypse despite budget constraints, and “Land of the Dead” was like the “Citizen Kane” of zombie films compared to the likes of “Diary of the Dead” and “Survival of the Dead”, Romero’s two most recent zombie attempts.
‘Survival’ takes place within the same ‘Dead’ universe but follows “Diary of the Dead” so it’s set in between the ‘Night’ and ‘Dawn’ timeline at the beginning of the zombie epidemic. The story is set on an island across from Delaware called Plum Island, a pleasant refuge where two powerful groups of survivors reside. These two groups, the O’Flynns and the Muldoons, are pretty much divided on the island due to the zombie apocalypse. The O’Flynns want to destroy the dead loved ones but the Muldoons believe in keeping them alive. Into the mix wander a group of National Guard troops who are seeking a safe place to live.
It sounds like a decent zombie plot, but the execution is akin to direct-to-DVD standards. The scene in which we are first introduced to the National Guard characters is quite funny (and sad) in a bad way. We have your typical male SWAT hero who leads the group, there’s a nerdy guy who is playing around on a laptop, sitting next to him is a lesbian soldier who is masturbating without a care in the world (no joke), then there’s the hispanic guy who talks like Zorro and is constantly trying to romance the lesbian girl. Yeah, I really care about these characters now. Anyway, the SWAT group meet up with a smart teenager and the leader of the O’Flynns to do battle with the undead and the Muldoons on Plum Island.
The film is relatively short and very disappointing for a Romero zombie film. I can understand that Romero is working on a budget here but he’s always been, look at the first four ‘Dead’ films he did. “Diary of the Dead” had a good angle on the apocalypse but the script sucked big time. I’m not sure what has happened to this legendary horror director. I’m not even sure why he didn’t continue to follow the characters from “Land of the Dead”, I would see “Road of the Dead” any day over ‘Diary’ or ‘Survival’. Otherwise, I think it’s time to put a bullet in the head of this series.