In this remake of the George Romero classic, A group of people fight off a horde of flesh-hungry zombies, while barricaded inside a rural farmhouse.
As the film opens, we hear the bickering of Barbara & Johnnie, but it isn’t like the mild bickering we hear between the two characters in the (1969) original, it’s way more intense. When we are finally greeted by the two, we see a more modern twist on their characters personalities. Bill Mosely’s portrayal of Johnnie leaned more to the “Mean-spirited,” slightly-perverted, brother one would expect to have, while at the same time retaining the original “Square” character image. Patricia Tallman’s portrayal of Barbara, at first, exhibit’s many of the same wimpy and vulnerable characteristics, only she has a more feisty and mouthy side. It is soon evident that Barbara is going to be the strongest character in this film. She quickly discards the wimpy, fragile, attributes of herself, and kicks her survival instincts into over-drive.
With this being a more modern film, we are given much more. So much is done in this film that would’ve been impossible to do back in 1969, especially on the original estimated $114,000 budget. What was once cornmeal and corn syrup, is now intricately detailed prosthetic pieces, giving the undead a more realistic appearance. Barbara’s brother Johnny isn’t killed by just merely having his head bumped against a tombstone, it is way more brutal. The ending is even different, one that I favor more than the original ending, it gives the audience more closure. When I think of all the extra things added to this film, I can only sum up as “The Ultimate Zombie Upgrade.”
While barricaded inside the house, the characters in this remake displayed a more “realistic” portrayal of how people would most-likely act in a situation such as this. Tempers flare, people are stabbed in the back, selfishness ensues. It was very easy for me to take sides with the characters. Harry Cooper was such a selfish asshole in this film, that I often wished that they would all gang up on him and push him outside into the horde of zombies. But his character really adds to this film, pushing the characters to the edge, making the film way more intense and interesting for the viewer. He may have pissed me off, but he made the film 10 times more enjoyable.
Overall this film is one of my absolute favorite films, and holds a very special place in my heart and on my ranking list. It was the first film my Mother let me stay up past 8 PM to watch and I have loved it, and been a night-owl, ever since. While George Romero’s 1969 original will always be just that, this one reigns over it in my opinion. Of course, if Romero had been given the same tools to work with back in 1969, I am confident he would have created something of equal, if not better, quality.
RATING: 5 out of 5 stars
REVIEW UPDATED: JAN. 12, 2010