Day of the Dead Review
This is a review of the original Day of the Dead movie. For the 2008 remake see the Day of the Dead (2008) Review.
Day of the Dead is the third part of George A. Romero’s Dead Movies, after the Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. It was released in 1985, 7 years after Dawn of the Dead and 17 years after the Night of the Living Dead. Technically, I feel that everything improved from Dawn of the Dead but Dawn of the Dead is just more fun.
The first 10 minutes of the movie are used to show us that the world has truly been lost to the zombies and that Dr. Sarah Bowman (Lori Cardille), our heroine, is smart and as tough as nails. We also see that the zombies have deteriorated a bit since Dawn of the Dead. Sometimes the flesh is hanging off. One of the first zombies we see is missing most of his jaw and his tongue is hanging out and his eyes are rolling in his head.
In general, the makeup and the special effects have improved since Dawn of the Dead although there are still a few blue zombies and even a military green one. See below.
After searching for other survivors, our group return to their base by helicopter. Their base is some type of military bunker where the doctors are trying to find a solution to the problem and the military are trying to help them and help them stay alive. There is no real character development and they are all quite one-dimensional. What you see is what you get. I think they knew this when they were creating it though as one of the
caricatures characters is a mad scientist that they all call Frankenstein. Of course, that could be also because he trying to bring the dead back…or something like that.
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There are only a dozen or so characters in the movie and they don’t all make it to the end but you don’t really care about most of them. It’s hard to empathize with them as they have jobs that most of us don’t have and they are in an environment that is hard for us to imagine. Most of the movie is set in the bunker which protects them from the outside world but can also be seen as a tomb. I think that’s one device that really worked. The bunker has plenty of supplies; food, fuel, weapons, and space.
Then there was Bub, the zombie that Frankenstein was trying to domesticate. And he had some success. Bub was able to recognize some things from his former life and Frankenstein was also training him by rewarding him with treats. We learn that Bub, despite being a zombie, had the ability to learn and later he even appeared to display emotion. I found it interesting that they chose to add personality to a zombie. Although I don’t think it’s a great idea because it would surely add a moral dilemma for many people.
I think that while people in well-stocked bunkers are the most likely to survive during a zombie apocalypse, it’s not really as exciting or as fun as watching people move through zombie-invested streets in search of food and supplies while struggling to survive. Most people want to see survivors try to build something while defending what they have. We also like to see what the world would be like without any rules. This movie doesn’t really provide that and I think that’s why despite being technically superior in every way, it still isn’t as good a movie as Dawn of the Dead.
In Night of the Living Dead, the theory put forward by scientists was that radiation from a returning satellite caused the reanimation of the corpses. It’s not really discussed in this movie or in Dawn of the Dead.
How to kill the zombies
A bullet or a strong blow to the head. Chopping off the head is not enough.
The zombies are mostly referred to as those things.
Day of the Dead Remake
There was a loose remake in 2008 by director Steve Miner. I would say that it is not as good as this movie which doesn’t say a lot. (Read the Day of the Dead (2008) Review.)