DIARY OF THE DEAD
RUNNING TIME 135 minutes
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY George A. Romero
STARRING Nick Alachiotis, Matt Birman, George Buza
George Romero’s 1968 zombie thriller Night of the Living Dead revolutionized the monster movie. The good guys hiding in a ramshackle farmhouse surrounded by flesh-eating ghouls all ended up Blue Plate specials, without a sign of hope in sight. Although bloody special effects have gone even further to instill terror since then, the original still holds up as a creep show worth shrieking about in the dark. Unfortunately, Mr. Romero has never moved on. One remake and several variations later, his zombies are beginning to look a bit long in the tooth. Diary of the Dead sends a camera crew to cover a murder-suicide, but the story is interrupted when the corpses come to life and eat the blond Mary Hart clone reporting on network television. Fade to a gang of Pennsylvania college students shooting a documentary in the nearby woods. Now we get zombies plus contemporary technology, which equals e-mails, cell phones, bloggers and 200 million videocams causing real computer panic. Violence, looting and riots take over the cities, dead bodies hang from bridges and the students download their daily rushes on the Internet, getting 72,000 hits in eight minutes. Zombies in color? It adds to the gross-out factor, but contributes nothing realistic otherwise. George Romero has lost it. And how about that dialogue? “It’s us against them—except they are us!” You’ll scream, all right—but not from fright.