Diary of the Dead

Year: 2007
Production Co: Artfire Films
Director: George A Romero
Writer: George A Romero
Cast: Josh Close, Michelle Morgan

George Romero took something special, tried to make something out of it and – thanks to a ham fisted script – failed.

I don't think we'll ever truly know if he intended on an anti-Vietnam subtext in Night of the Living Dead or an anti-consumerism one in Dawn of the Dead or whether such lofty themes were thrust upon him. He's claimed them since, but they arose mostly from the movie fan press who read such commentary into each, the films generating lives and profiles way beyond what anybody probably thought they would.

Day of the Dead might have been about the uneasy marriage between the military and the sciences but Land of the Dead wasn't really about anything, just an action movie with zombies in it.

Taking cues from Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project, Romero decided to turn the subtext up to eleven, but what could have been a seamless effort turns into a collection of sequences that jar badly, heavy-handed and preachy web 2.0 diatribes about how the consumer is the producer and asking how complicit we are in history's atrocities if we record them. Such overly self-aware scripting interspersed with the odd zombie attack makes for a plodding, flat movie.

Once more returning to the time the dead first rise to feast upon the living, we follow a bunch of film students shooting a schlocky horror film when the outbreak happens and who decide to document the whole thing. When things go from bad to worse, the troupe increasingly implore film obsessive Jason (Close) to put the camera down and help, but with the media blacking out the whole story, he insists someone has to 'tell the truth about what's going on here'.

The movie wants us to consider him a poster boy for citizen journalism, enabled by the democratisation of the web. Instead, he's just an irritating twat you'll be glad to see the grisly end of.

A few effective zombie sequences will please horror fans, and there's a truly inventive shot of undead walking around lost on the floor of a swimming pool, but it misses the mark Romero was targeting by a mile.

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