With Diary of the Dead in theaters, I thought it was time to review the other Romero movies here. (Any time is Zombie time!)
Note: These are mini reviews. Why? I'm lazy.
Night of the Living Dead: Score: 8
Due to it's virtually nonexistant budget, Night relies on it's tight script to deliver suspense and thrills. Ironic, and extremely well plotted "Night" is the tightest, most suspensful movie. Plus it has the best, most cynical ending, in my opinion.
Dawn of the Dead: Score: 7.9
Although probably the best known Dead movie, Dawn of the Dead is my least favorite of the four. Although it is very subtle, with the ending (once again cynical and unexpected) finally stating its point, Dawn suffers from pacing proplems. Since the main point of the movie is to show how the humans react and what they become, the action with the Zombies, and the setting, make the battle and chase scenes seem somewhat lighthearted, especially with the mall music added in. Of course, this serves a purpose to the plot and message of the movie, but it sometimes gets to the point where the sattire ruins the suspense.
Day of the Dead: Score: 9.5
My personal favorite of the Dead movies, Day of the Dead combines the action and suspense of the first movie with the sattire of the second, as well as something of its own. There is an extreme tension, as well as shouting, contrasting conflicts between people and Zombies, and people and people, both being equally gruesome and inhumane. This may be my favorite movie because it doesn't mince words. It clearly depicts the military people as screaming, violent impulsive, savages, even more so than the zombies, and the fatherly scientist as a crazy butcher who nontheless manages to seem more sane than his military counterparts. Leaving leadup and setup out, Day of the Dead throws the charachters straight into conflict with riveting tension. Plus, although Dawn is the most lighthearted and funny, I actually found Day funnier, with the crazy army commander Rhodes shrieking curses at the top of his lungs. The only sane people are a woman, an easygoing Jamaican, and an alcaholic. Well, the last one isn't really that sane. Plus, it features an extremely well played lead Zombie, who is more sympathetic than most of the humans. This movie is a brutal depiction of what we would become, if, of course, we were invaded by zombies.
Land of the Dead: Score: 7.7
Land of the Dead does away with a lot of the staples that make Romero zombie movies great, like a setpiece, and well developed and acted characters. Indeed, John Leguizamo is the only actor who distinguishes his character much. There a lot of interesting ideas that don't really go anywhere, like the nightlife of the city where people, cats, and dogs are fed to zombies, and the depression like camps of people who are kept out of paradise. Indeed, Romero had the freedom to create so many set pieces, that he didn't really use any of them effectively. On the plus side, with it's studion production values, Land is very entertaining, and it maintains the sattirical edge of the Romero zombie movie, even if, like many of the things in the movie, it is not that focused. In Day, the zombies started to gain intelligence with the excellently portrayed zombie: Bub. This movie continues the trend of smart zombies, however, the lead zombie in Land is not as well played. He basically yells a lot, picks up a tool, looks at it for a while, and then uses it. Big, vacant and unfocused, Land is still technically well made, even if it doesn't compare to other Romero movies.