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Overall Rating
3.82

Awesome: 27.22%
Worth A Look48.89%
Average: 10%
Pretty Bad: 6.11%
Total Crap: 7.78%

15 reviews, 90 user ratings


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Land of the Dead
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by the Grinch

"Slightly dumbed down Romero is better than no Romero at all"
4 stars

After numerous "Romero inspired" zombie flicks and even a quality remake, finally Romero weighs in with his own epic continuation..."When there's no more room for zombie movies"....

I really wanted to give this film the highest rating possible, but I have to get past my own biases. I have to say that while Land of the Dead was a good movie that actually had some of the preview audience applauding during the credits, its lack of character development and plot inadequacies keep it from being a GREAT movie. This applies at least to the theatrical version, which comes in at an anemic 93 minutes. That's right, 1 HOUR and 33 MINUTES.

Unfortunately, this short running time leaves little time for the thoughtful atmosphere and setups that Romero films are most memorable for. The original Dawn of the Dead threatrical cut came in at 126 minutes, and it needed every second of it. Land of the Dead is no different, its complexities needed more time for development. I wouldn't be suprised if this weakness and other weaknesses in Land of the Dead were a result of meddling by Universal and/or the MPAA. The fact that a REMAKE of Romero's Dawn of the Dead received a bigger budget from Universal (somewhere around $10 million more) leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Romero and fx supervisor Greg Nicotero really could've used the extra dosh.

Speaking of Nicotero, he does some of his best work in this film.
The opening setup of zombies during their daily routine is impressively disturbing. I'm suprised that LOTD was able to keep an R rating based on the level of gore involved. It only makes you wonder what the impending unrated version must be like. One thing that bothered me was the overuse of CGI effects for things like blood. That's a big peeve of mine, but I understand it was necessary due to restraints on the fx team. Most people won't be bothered by it, I'm just a squib-snob/fx diva. My hope is that the action level and star power (John Legumesyamama and Dennis Hopper) will help to make LOTD a box office hit. With a bigger budget and more autonomy, Romero could really deliver.

LOTD is the most like Richard Matheson's 'I am Legend', the apocalyptic vampire novel that was the inspiration for Night of the Living Dead and countless other films. Thousands of survivors have holed up in the aptly titled Fiddler's Green, a fortressed city reminiscent of Manhattan Island in John Carpenter's 'Escape from New York'. The upper crust fiddles while Rome burns. The lesser classes are sent to forage the zombie infested countryside for supplies that mostly benefit the upper classes who live in secure skyscrapers. The city is lorded over by Kaufman (Hopper) a money-man who doesn't "negotiate with terrorists". Does this all sound familiar? The city is a neo-Gommorah, where the inhabitants have become more wicked and inhumane than the undead who only kill for survival.

The problem is the undead are evolving. They are developing reasoning skills and learning how to use tools. Like the vampires in "I am Legend', the zombies have their own story, and they begin to take exception to being attacked by the urban interlopers. Gory revenge ensues, a "Dead Reckoning" indeed. The undead evolution is spearheaded by "Big Daddy", a hulking gas attendant zombie played by Eugene Clark. This character pretty much exists to speed things up, and to make it easier for dumber audience members. Big Daddy is like a grouchy Bub.

LOTD is very recognizably Romero. There are some contemporary touches, like the non-stop "jump scares", but the framing is pure Romero. Romero even gets a jab at movies that've profited off NOTLD...one scene is almost frame by frame a scene from the Nazi Zombie b-movie 'Shockwaves'. I have to admit, there's alot of subtle humor in Land of the Dead, plenty for videonasty geeks like myself to chuckle at.

I would've been perfectly happy had I paid for this screening. I can't in good conscience give Land 5 stars, but I give it 4 stars and will change it to 5 if the DVD release meets my expectations. Go out and see this movie, support artists like Romero.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12288&reviewer=156
originally posted: 06/24/05 02:17:12
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell decent the original is still the best 3 stars
10/13/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Through numerous sequels and rip-offs, Romero manages to keep the corpses fresh. 4 stars
12/27/09 art THE 1932 film WHITE ZOMBIE was the best walking dead FILM! 2 stars
10/18/09 PAUL SHORTT FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT YOU CAN REANIMATE THE DEAD ONLY SO MANY TIMES 1 stars
8/31/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Better than Diary, not as good as the first three. 4 stars
12/19/08 Craig D. There's a lot more here than a political subtext, Danny. Go watch your Transformers DVD. 4 stars
8/13/08 Shaun Wallner Bloody Awesome!!! 5 stars
6/11/07 Danny.G Ignore the Romero grovelling reviews, this is TV movie stuff.."oh wow, a political subtext" 1 stars
6/07/07 fools♫gold I loved "28 Days Later" much greater (a film I underrated), but this is cool. 5 stars
12/12/06 Angela Saunders Surprisingly better than expected. I actually loved it! 4 stars
11/24/06 David Pollastrini good gore with a little irony. 5 stars
8/25/06 havthat You'll never look at belly button piercings the same way. 4 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist One of the best zombie films since Night of the Living Dead!!!!! 5 stars
7/17/06 mark fun to watch-romero needs to complete this, however, this seems like a build-up 5 stars
7/15/06 drydock54321 lots of gore 4 stars
5/08/06 omar it was ok. the violence was awesome though 4 stars
3/18/06 MP Bartley Lack of doomy finality (unlike the others) makes this seem like a very good tv movie. 4 stars
3/07/06 matt mediocre, the ending was a huge letdown 3 stars
2/25/06 ali profasion 5 stars
2/21/06 Agent Sands Not scary at all. It is action-packed, though, and Dennis Hopper is fucking hilarious. 4 stars
1/14/06 ALDO Feel incomplete....bad character development. 2 stars
1/05/06 Indrid Cold The complete waste of Dennis Hopper is one of this stinker's less eggregious crimes. 2 stars
12/29/05 chris f a very good film 4 stars
12/21/05 JJ now i know how star wars fans felt when they saw phantom menace. romero should be ashamed 1 stars
12/16/05 JeromeBosch P.S. all that money and they couldn’t buy a helicopter? 3 stars
12/13/05 Jeanne Pittsburgh it really kind of sucks 1 stars
12/12/05 gray could have been better 4 stars
11/29/05 JeromeBosch Prompted me to take another look at 'DAWN' and appreciate that film even more. 3 stars
11/27/05 Lord Durvok II Romero + big, ostentatious budget = crap 2 stars
11/23/05 Guy Pretty lame all around. 1 stars
11/19/05 Sam Justus A super enjoyable zombie flick by George A. Romero, the man that started it all. 5 stars
11/15/05 Danny Disappointment. Gore for the sake of gore. Disgusting and not EVEN scary. 1 stars
11/05/05 MAttIFUL Painfully stupid! Dawn of the Dead was so much better... god that was awful 1 stars
10/30/05 K. Sear I don't know, maybe I expectected too much? 3 stars
10/27/05 deadwiz Gotta love zombies. Not romeros best, but it will do. 4 stars
10/26/05 Richard Brandt Who can see zombies being tortured without being reminded of Abu Ghraib? 4 stars
10/26/05 Linda Richardson "Zombies, man they creep me out" sums it up for me. 5 stars
10/25/05 chris fox (the god) good movie worth watching 4 stars
10/20/05 tatum Quite the unpleasant little gore FX resume film, twenty years too late 1 stars
10/19/05 othree sucksallass, Dawn of the Dead 2004 was better, Resident Evil2 was even better, *bleh* 1 stars
10/17/05 Vince Very enjoyable zombie flick by the man who started it all 4 stars
10/14/05 conker_99 Land of the dead was one of the best movies i have ever seen. But it was a little to short. 5 stars
10/14/05 carmen fratto He never explained how the zomie's got there in the first place . 3 stars
10/01/05 Phil Interesting idea........ but no! 3 stars
9/28/05 alvin crap***great effect make up, but the story is borng n no excitement at all, sucks*** 2 stars
9/22/05 Fritz Romero's brand of zombie-ism is old and tired. 2 stars
8/25/05 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne A fairly ineffectual and banal-retentive effort at making a horror flick 2 stars
8/19/05 ES An ok movie, cool premise, but the zombies are as unscary as can be 3 stars
8/17/05 alice very average, never suprised me 3 stars
8/13/05 Mark Louis Baumgart So-so FX & make-up. A heavy-handed, illogical & pretentious social message movie. *Yawn* 1 stars
8/10/05 John excellent. anyone who disagrees is wrong. 5 stars
8/06/05 Pierre Masterpiece! 5 stars
8/02/05 Ric Good cinematography, but that's about it. 1 stars
7/21/05 Shena Johnson It was an okay movie, but I think it can be better.Use your heart. 3 stars
7/11/05 the untrained eye sorry guys, disappointed 3 stars
7/10/05 asina better than any of that wes craven crap. 5 stars
7/09/05 ROY L. CAIN Nobody scares the hell out of you like Mr. Romero ! 5 stars
7/08/05 KingNeutron Some good "jump" moments, good FX, and good acting all around. 4 stars
7/08/05 lucas completely reinvents the genre of horror movies 5 stars
7/07/05 Dave Pretty Good movie even if its not up to par with Dawn or Night. 4 stars
7/07/05 Cedric It's AMAZING, go see it! 5 stars
7/06/05 Ole Man Bourbon Completely and utterly asinine. Looks like it was written by a 4th grader. 1 stars
7/04/05 ajay not really a gore fan, so this movie was laugh-out-loud bad. 2 stars
7/04/05 ART This film has the underlying theme of class struggle. 4 stars
7/03/05 Joe This movie sucks trust me, dont trust the high ratings on this movie 1 stars
7/03/05 Malcolm this was whack 2 stars
7/02/05 Eric Rollins Glossy revisionism - totally unnecessary 2 stars
7/01/05 eleni the unrated dvd will be the REAL version. still good, though. 4 stars
6/30/05 Caiphn Disappointed, pretty crazy gore however. The last bit of dialogue extreme cheese. 3 stars
6/30/05 John Gruber Social Commentary on political situation in USA... with zombies! 5 stars
6/30/05 Gray Could have been better 4 stars
6/30/05 John A Zombie film done right - great! 5 stars
6/29/05 dolemite Pretty sweet gore. I'd give it 5 just for that 5 stars
6/29/05 phillip boyd I WANTED TO EAT MY OWN FLESH WHILE BEING FORCED TO VIEW THIS MOVIE. 1 stars
6/28/05 Kankasaur Zombie films satirizing social decay have been reborn in an era of ivory tower arrogance 5 stars
6/27/05 carlos r guzman Romero still has it(1978's Dawn still best), a bit hurried; still great - DVD maybe better 4 stars
6/27/05 Agent Sands The best American movie I've seen in the theater in 2005. No gratuitous formulaic subplots. 5 stars
6/26/05 vagile Better than worth a look if not really quite awesome. 5 stars
6/26/05 Sarah Reece I really did love this film. It's a shame that the movie did go by in a hurry. 5 stars
6/26/05 Lord Jiggy Swiftian satire it is not...easy shots at Bush...oh, so original (NOT). 2 stars
6/26/05 Darren Shea Satisfying, if a bit obvious and heavy-handed. Better acting than usual for a Romero flick. 4 stars
6/26/05 malcolm everything a zombie movie is supposed to be. take a lesson copycats. 4 stars
6/26/05 Uncle Phucker Would like to see MORE of the good stuff. Hopefully a DVD will reveal this. Worst of the 4. 4 stars
6/26/05 DennyRoss Zombie fans (like me) rejoice in spite of the cliche dialogue from the main characters. 4 stars
6/26/05 asina romero's swan song is also his masterpiece. 5 stars
6/25/05 K. Sear The weakest one yet, but still not a terrible film. 4 stars
6/25/05 maysin willie aames It's no DAWN, it's not even DAY but it's still better than the imitators... 4 stars
6/24/05 Trenchtown Awesome, Except Dennis Hopper Did his Water World Character all over again 4 stars
6/23/05 David Hollands Note quite Dawn, but well-acted, with excellent tonal balance, and wonderful direction. 5 stars
6/19/05 payback Finally, this is how you make a zombie flick 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Jun-2005 (R)
  DVD: 18-Oct-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  04-Aug-2005




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