Night of the Living Dead Review
While not the first zombie movie in existence, Night of the Living Dead is seen as the first of the modern zombie movies where zombies rise from the grave and try to eat people. That fact is not the only reason you should watch this, though. It is a classic horror movie that while may longer be in-your-face frightening to the desensitized zombie fans of the day, it can still make your skin crawl.
The movie starts off with a brother and sister arriving at a graveyard to put flowers on their father’s grave. It doesn’t take long for the action to start. The sister gets attacked by a strange man that we later find out is a zombie. The brother rushes to her rescue and a struggle ensues.
Most of the movie is set in a farmhouse where people have sought refuge from the zombies. Through the radio and television, the characters and we, the viewers, learn more about what’s happening and how widespread it is. While the a lot of the set pieces, as well as the acting, don’t seem that natural by today’s standards, the storytelling is excellent.
While we do get some action very early on in the movie (about 5 minutes in) we don’t really know what’s happening. The zombie is in such good condition and well-dressed that he comes across as some type of crazy man rather than an undead flesh-eater. The action and fear build slowly and steadily from there and in the house, the sense of panic and claustrophobia increases side by side. On the one hand, they want to board themselves up to protect themselves from the monsters outside while on the other hand they want to escape. The personality clashes in the house lead to regular confrontations with people’s personality traits being exaggerated through terror.
The zombies themselves do shuffle about a bit aimlessly outside the house, but they are not as slow or as dumb as you would imagine. The first zombie we come across runs a bit, knows how to open cars doors, and quickly figures out that if you can’t break a car window with your fists, a rock will do the trick. Later in the movie we see the zombies eating the intestines and body parts of recently deceased people which I imagine was shocking in its time. But partly because it’s in black and white and partly because we have seen more graphic scenes on TV these days, I wasn’t all that moved.
Even if you are not into zombies, this movie is a lesson in good storytelling. It starts off quickly and steadily builds up to an exciting and shocking conclusion. Even for its time, it was a low-budget movie but it never feels like a B-Movie.
The theory put forward by scientists in the movie is that radiation from a returning satellite caused the reanimation of the corpses.
How to kill the zombies
The Night of the Living Dead zombies are afraid of fire and rightly so as that will kill them as will a bullet or a strong blow to the head.
They never use the word zombie in Night of the Living Dead. The zombies are mostly referred to as those things and more officially as ghouls. At one point they were even referred to as assassins.
Night of the Living Dead versions
Several versions of Night of the Living Dead have been released. I think three colorized versions including versions where zombies had green skin and another where they had gray skin, were released. And there was even a remake. This is a review the original black and white version which you can watch on YouTube for free. In fact, it is embedded in the post above.
On top of that, there have been quite a few remakes.