George Romero is the undisputed king of the zombie film. And his his latest effort which is making the rounds of any well stocked video store, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, has many comic elements and is enjoyable enough of an effort. Yet, it seems pretty uninspired and routine as far as zombie movies go other than some great new digital effects and cool photographic tricks. It’s far from a bad film, but just not as good as we had hoped it would be.
When young George Romero reinvented the zombie genre with the excellent 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, a low budget yet very effective masterpiece, the bar was raised very high for these sort of films. And the 1990 remake of this film as well as a few other efforts by Romero ranked very high as well. But, with SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, Romero seems to have made a major effort here to be witty and almost made the genre into pure camp. The movie is fun, but at the expense of a really classic story. At the same time, it still must be stressed that virtually no one does zombie films any better than Romero. However, this film seems a little closer to the trash zombie camp films like RAVE TO THE GRAVE, which was an unabashed attempt to make a teenage horror trash film complete with excessive camp violence, nudity, etc.
Fans of George Romero, like me, still enjoy SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. It’s George Romero for heaven’s sake. But, it’s just not George Romero at his very best.
The Bottom Line: George Romero is always enjoyable. I love his films. But, this is hardly a great classic here. If you’re a fan of zombie movies, you’ll enjoy this enough. But, casual viewers will be left with an empty feeling. ++(Two stars, or only fair).