Good ol’ Ruzkin said it best when I asked him what he thought about this film. Something like ‘it never ends, and it never gets any better’. That’s probably entirely true, but true to form, I ignored his implied advice and watched the film all the same.
I want to say that I knew Diary of the Dead was coming out. I had read about it, thought the idea of a zombie flick shot on shaky handy cam might just work … I don’t know what it was that make me look it up recently, but I was shocked to see it had not only come out, but came out in 2007. Not only that, but hello Survival of the Dead.
Sorry to follow on in Ruzkin’s example, but Land of the Dead, the film before this one, was suck. And as much as the promise of this films premise might cause one to hope it was good, it really wasn’t. He’s right. It doesn’t end and no, it doesn’t get any better.
A bunch of student film makers decide to shoot a horror flick, but during the opening parts of the film, we find out that a mysterious situation has broken out. This film is shot in modern day, but it’s set at the time of the original film. Well, in terms of the outbreak time line I guess. The rest of the plot is pretty straight forward. Zombies bite people. People die. People shoot zombies and bitten people. Unfortunately there’s not much to either scare one here, or really make you empathize for the lot. Not much, anyway.
But there are a few hints of goodness. There’s a few moments where the film breaks the 2D. That is, there are things that make us feel like things are happening around us. During the scene that they find out the outbreak has started, we hear a siren race past off screen. A lot of stuff happens that we can’t entirely see, because it’s on a TV or radio.
And that’s where perhaps the film excels, and maybe risks overdoing the point. In the process of shooting the ‘film’ the camera (us, too maybe) become desensitized to the violence. As one character points out, we don’t stop to help, we just stop to watch. By the end, in a rather grisly scene, she ponders whether we are worth saving after all. The social commentary of war reporting, and media, social or mainstream is strong in this film, and almost overbearing. Almost.
All in all, I’m not sure I liked this film. There were bits where I was just sitting through it. The film felt like the zombies, just dragging itself through the paces. It’s not much of a horror film, it’s perhaps better classed a ‘zombie film’. There’s nothing to scare us, or jump out at us, or horrify us, but then, maybe that’s his point?
Go ahead Ruzkin. Say it. I know you want to …