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Overall Rating

Awesome: 21.9%
Worth A Look: 23.81%
Average: 20%
Pretty Bad24.76%
Total Crap: 9.52%

5 reviews, 75 user ratings

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Day of the Dead (1985)
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by MP Bartley

"When there's no more room in Hell... really bad sequels will walk the Earth"
2 stars

Don't worry George, it happens to the best of us. No-one (save Peter Jackson and maybe Spielberg) seems to be able to finish a trilogy effectively. Lucas, Fincher, Coppola...they've all produced and directed the third part in a series that just doesn't cut it. 'Day of the Dead' joins those ranks.

After opening with one of the greatest jump scares that any horror movie has produced, we discover that humanity has lasted the night, got through the dawn and are now living in the day where zombies are outnumbering humans 400,000 to 1. And as with the first two, a few remnants of humanity are holed up in a claustrophobic home, this time an abandoned missile silo. Here technician Sarah (Lori Cardille) is caught in a widening rift between a small group of soldiers led by hothead Rhodes (Joe Pilato) and an even smaller group of scientists, led by Mengele-type Logan (Richard Liberty). Meanwhile an army of the undead mass outside the fences whilst a small group of zombies have been captured for experimentation

Rhodes has the firm belief that they should evacuate the base, whilst Logan is equally convinced that the zombies can be tamed and trained to serve humanity instead of trying to eat them.

It's obvious then, that 'Day of the Dead' is trying to be in a similiar vein to its to predecessors by mixing the gore with some thought and intelligence. Here, it's the question of scientific experimentation and slavery instead of racial integration and consumerism. However the balance between the gore and satire is hopelessly mis-balanced. Put it this way, for a film of a hundred minutes, only the last 15 feature any brain-munching action. The rest of the running time they're either chained to a wall or pegged behind fence. And unlike the first two there's little chance of them breaking out to cause havoc. You've got to ask yourself what kind of horror keeps its monsters meek and out of view for the majority of it's time. There's little tension or suspense as long, dry patches of talking drag past without so much as a glimpse of a zombie. And that's a bad mistake for any horror film, but particularly when the first two so masterfully ramped up the tension and sense of foreboding.

The time here instead is taken with long screaming matches between the scientists and the military. Intellectual discussions on survival and the preservation of knowledge can be interesting without action for about 10 minutes, but for about 80? And the acting is also below-par, with only Liberty having any fun as the mad doctor. Cardille is bland and Pilato goes over-the-top so many times, he practically orbits the earth. The rest of the cast fill out their roles of zombie fodder with little distinction.

If there is a star of the film it's Savinis make-up, a vast improvement on his previous work and is hugely convincing as screaming humans are torn limb from limb. Make no mistake, the climax is great and hugely gory...but it's such a damn long wait to get there. The tension is further undercut by the portrayal of the zombies. Whereas previously they were unstoppable brain-munchers you just couldn't appeal to or reason with (and that was the scary thing), here they're simply 'mis-understood' and apparently just need a bit of TLC before they'll happily sit down to supper with you. By the time you reach the scene where a zombie can fire a gun and give an ironic salute, you'll be wondering if this is really the Romero we all know and love, or some bodysnatched version.

And whereas 'Night' and 'Dawn' had endings that were bleak and chilling, 'Day' ends on a silly and confusing note that doesn't do the logic of the film any favours.

It's perhaps appropriate that for a film set when all hope is lost, and life is just a question of limping along trying to survive the best you can, the film itself seems to have lost interest in its topic. There's sadly little invention or horror that the first two had in spades, just a feeling of a film-maker treading water with a waning enthusiasm. The best way to describe 'Day of the Dead'? Lifeless.

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originally posted: 04/22/04 00:03:42
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User Comments

8/16/11 Chris F A bit slow but not bad overall 4 stars
6/21/11 art watch european zombie flick's like the drive-in's used to show,instead! 1 stars
11/06/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Acting could have been better, but Romero's overall vision won me over. Also, great gore! 4 stars
1/02/10 art WHITE ZOMBIE from 1932,is the only true zombie flick,I DIG BUB THE ZOMBIE! 1 stars
12/26/09 Chad Dillon Cooper A good movie with great fx. 5 stars
10/21/09 Jason Best movie ever made. Shakespearian quallity dialogs 5 stars
10/05/09 art BUB THE ZOMBIE WAS A REAL "CHARMER" 1 stars
4/23/09 FrankNFurter What's scarier-human nature or the zombies? A profound vision on the dark side of humanity. 4 stars
2/01/09 lo& I think this movie is very underrated,great characters,good dialogue. 4 stars
12/19/08 Craig D. No, action movie fan, Resident Evil is "a boring, routine zombie movie." Day is great. 4 stars
6/08/08 action movie fan great gore from tom savaini but little else-a boring routine zombie movie 2 stars
5/31/08 Peter Romero at his best, pre-modern sucky self. 5 stars
9/28/07 Paul kersey brilliant 5 stars
9/28/07 Paul kersey Awesome movie 5 stars
9/28/07 Paul kersey Awesome movie 5 stars
10/25/06 Drew G Needed a lot more zombie action... 2 stars
9/22/06 Lisa Craven Doesn't even come close to Night of the Living Dead, average gorefest 3 stars
9/21/06 Pritchett Not bad, not great, had a lot to live up to after "Dawn" - original script is better. 3 stars
8/25/06 havthat I liked this one the least of Romero's, but Bub's "humanity" was an interesting twist. 4 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist A gorey, medieocre splat of entrails, thats a notch higher than popcorn flick status!!!! 4 stars
7/17/06 mark the best of the Dead movies-takes a little patience on the viewer, however 5 stars
10/27/05 chris a brilliant film although not as good as dawn 4 stars
9/29/05 Evan This is the Alien³ of the series. 3 stars
8/19/05 Gaston Nowhere near as good as NIGHT or DAWN, obviously, but has a few merits...and that FINALE!!! 3 stars
8/06/05 Pierre Zombie masterpiece! 5 stars
7/26/05 Kankasaur 1 part film-gore + 4 parts Al Gore. Skip the speechifying if you're no Romero zombie 2 stars
7/17/05 Brandy Harrington great gore cant not make up for the retarded story and awful acting. 1 stars
7/08/05 Burt Ward as bad as Jaws: The Revenge 1 stars
6/26/05 DennyRoss Very clostrophobic - guess that was the point. Still I liked this one but I didn't love it 4 stars
4/25/05 Indrid Cold An odd, boring story. But the death scenes at the end are worth the price of admission. 4 stars
4/16/05 Kainsdisciples better than dawn gotta love bob 4 stars
2/09/05 New England Patriots = Dynasty holy hell, what a piece of shit this was. AWFUL acting...AWFUL. 1 stars
1/29/05 ralph a true movie expert 32 yrs old not as good as dawn but still a must see if you are into gore 3 stars
1/10/05 Lucas Stenz WOW! Best horror film of the 1980s 5 stars
8/19/04 Random Fuck C'mon Romero, you could've done better than that!!! 2 stars
7/04/04 Samuel damn fine film. great ending to a great trilogy! 5 stars
6/13/04 Craig Good if you have a zombie fetish like me. 3 stars
6/08/04 Ryan Clark The least of Romero 4 stars
5/01/04 dead next door i like this one better than dawn. 5 stars
4/22/04 y2mckay Bad acting, meandering script, not enough gore, Romero Lite 2 stars
4/22/04 Jack Sommersby Great gore at the end can't compensate for abrasive characters and awful acting. 2 stars
4/18/04 Zach Cussing is ok, but not 50 million times that you just start shaking your head 3 stars
4/03/04 Lord Durvok 2 Good head-pulled-off fun! 4 stars
3/28/04 Gray to slow+depressing+not a obvious moral in it 3 stars
3/20/04 truth good fx but movie sucks, even worse than Dawn, boring and pointless,NOTLD still the best 1 1 stars
12/12/03 Heather great film!! 4 stars
11/27/03 John only for die hard Romero fans - an unworthy conclusion to a great trilogy 2 stars
11/02/03 American Slasher Goddess Too talky, but it's halfway decent. 3 stars
10/04/03 g-man it has it's problems, but for me it was the most gripping entry, and my personal fave. 4 stars
9/22/03 Samuel Justus A great ending to a great trilogy! 5 stars
8/13/03 Carrier In my opinion its the best of the three. Worth a look. 5 stars
4/30/03 The Talking Elbow Bub the zombie kicked ASS 5 stars
4/19/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik All and all, it's an underwhelming film, but it's good things keep it on it's toes enough. 3 stars
3/02/03 y2mckay A pale follow-up to the previous classics, but still worth dusting off once in a while. 3 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Pointless, worthless crap. Bub the Zombie is a keeper, though. 2 stars
11/21/02 murat I don't care what what you say,this movie sucks .I wish romero couldn't have done it. 1 stars
5/22/02 Charles Tatum You cannot look away 4 stars
4/29/02 Eric Great zombie film has an intelligent story, excellent gore, and a superbly gripping finale. 5 stars
4/29/02 Phoenix A total bore. 1 stars
3/20/02 Aborted Gently Romero tries, but comes up short. 4 stars
1/16/02 Peter Herman this one has the darkest atmosphere of all three 5 stars
10/13/01 British Bulldog I really enjoyed this film, great special effects and characters. 5 stars
9/13/01 Elgyn I think this is every bit as good as "Dawn". 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Ooh...I have a hard time making it through the first 5 HOURS of this film! Awesome Effects 4 stars
7/19/01 Ted Villavicencio a good zombie flick but far from Romero's greatest 3 stars
6/27/01 ric Definitely underrated. The last 20 minutes feature the BEST zombie action ever. 5 stars
5/03/01 Gracy Lionheart Perhaps if it was filmed the way Romero originally wanted it might have been better 3 stars
3/11/01 ryhan adams I found myself rooting for the bad guys ho should have been the good guys. Go Mr. Rhodes 4 stars
8/17/00 Rich Corle A Great film that is extremely underrated 5 stars
7/10/00 Bob Wombat Compared to Dawn of the Dead, this one was shite. 3 stars
5/26/00 Aaron Best zombie film ever!!! 5 stars
12/18/99 SID I commend Romero for the story he tried to tell, but I just didn't care about thecharacters 3 stars
9/08/99 little jerry Serious,powerful & extremely impressive.Budget cuts forced Romero to make this masterpiece. 5 stars
7/18/99 Eric Despite extreme gore, Day is one of the best horror films ever made.Surprisingly touching. 5 stars
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  02-Jul-1985 (NC-17)

  02-Feb-1986 (18)

  02-Feb-1986 (R)

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