Diary of the Dead (2008)
Directed by George Romero

Starring Joe Dinicol Joshua Close Michelle Morgan Phillip Riccio Scott Wentworth Shawn Roberts Tatiana Maslany

Surprisingly excellent zombie film from George Romero, this film didn't get a perfect reception from critics upon its release in 2008 (after having a long festival run around 2007), but it arguably deserved one. It's way better than "Land of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead. Released 40 years after "Night of the Living Dead," the film updates that film's zombie mythos with references to YouTube and Myspace. The pic is supposedly being shot by the characters, who were filming a student movie when the zombie outbreak took place.

It's an obvious nod to "The Blair Witch Project." But this film is much slicker, replete with zombie effects and good (albeit shaky) photography and genuinely scary zombie suspense, something that was sorely lacking in "Land of the Dead." After a while and after Romero stops including an annoying "battery out" symbol at the bottom of the frame you forget the gimmick and get totally immersed in the Romero's updated Living Dead universe.

The dialogue is actually better than it has been in previous Romero efforts. The characters all students, with the exception of a professor-turned-archer (played by charismatic Shakespearean actor Scott Wentworth) are likeable. And the situations are surprisingly believable given the outbreak that has occurred.

The National Guard has become an army of thieves, taking good from anyone they come across. The mainstream media is reporting a pack of lies about the outbreak, blaming it on illegal aliens (unlike the 1960s media depicted in "Night of the Living Dead," which actually told the public the truth). Filmmaker Jason Creed (Joshua Close) responds by uploading his own movies to YouTube until the Internet finally breaks down. The film that's ultimately assembled is based on his footage, and footage shot by his friends, with (the narrator notes) music added for dramatic effect.

Creed is a bit too compulsive about filmmaking failing to help his friends even when they're being chased down by the flesh-eating living dead and

The film that results is a journey of our protagonists across the country. Along the way, they run into a deaf Amish farmer who helps them fix their car and dispatch some zombies; renegade National Guardsmen (some bad, some good); and finally a mansion with a Panic Room, which proves infinitely more effective than the cellar in "Night of the Living Dead."

If "Diary" can be faulted for anything it's for not having a slam-bang ending like Romero's other zombie films: a climax. It just kind of ends. But the budget was low and the film that resulted is undeniably a must see. Probably the best zombie movie since 1978's "Dawn of the Dead."

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


Posted by mark on March 26, 2008
this was by far the WORST of Romero's zombie movies!! I went to New York to see this and I wish I stayed home. No one could possibly care about any of the characters, the acting was terrible and it was so anti-climactic that I hope there is no follow up. Sorry guys, the movie flat out SUCKED

Posted by Dagon on April 20, 2008
I dont care if Romero directed it...lets face it: IT SUCKS!!! I dont know how Romero had courage to do it...even worse... relate it to the dead series... Everybody dying around but YOU CANT STOP FILMING!!! yeah right... A Romero sequel to this...?!?! Wow... bring in fresh blood to Horror movies. Avoid.

Posted by tattedvamp on May 7, 2008
you fucking idiots woulldnt know a good horror film if it jumped up and bite you right in the ass this was much better that the last and he was doing his political satire as always this isnt a movie for horror fans itsw a movie for romero fans that understand his mind set in his films dick weeds

Posted by Dagon on May 21, 2008
lololol LMAO lololol Man...you must be a medium...cause you see things that Are NOT present in this movie... I like romero movies and can see political satire in those...but in this one? Dont try saving the movie with elements that are not present just because its a Romero movie... this movie sucks, just admit it. Its like analyzing the movie "Judas taking a shit in the desert" and saying its a masterpiece because of its satire... stop smoking weird stuff... lol But IF you keep your opinion...I have to say Puppet Master III is a masterpiece of Nazi-propaganda-political-satire as well... LMAO ...

Posted by ^Sick_Boy on May 28, 2008
Dagon, I feel like you are the one that should quit smokin' weird stuff. If you can't recognize the attack to mass-media, to the image-culture, the "I-must-be-seen-by-someone-or-I-don't-even-exist" pathology, well...I'm afraid is your problem, not a lack of this movie.

Posted by Dagon on May 29, 2008
Im afraid that doesnt save the movie... If I was a director and made such piece of crap I would also say that there are several points of view to analyze the movie... get it? There is always an escape door...

Posted by mark on June 15, 2008
hey tattedvamp, first you said we wouldnt know a good horror movie if it bit us, then you say it isnt a movie for horror fans. which is it genius? is it horror or not? I love Romero, always have. saw DOTD back in the theaters when I was a kid. This movie is terrible. Ill even say it again, it SUCKED!

Posted by cappy on November 15, 2008
I thought it was an excellent film, and agree that it's much better than Land or Day. The low-budget (as opposed to the slicker production values of other post 70s Romero films) and the guerilla filmmaking techniques gave this film (and its themes) a sense of urgency that I liked. I actually loved Diary. Romero rocks!

Posted by STUNTZ on December 5, 2008
well yeah, felt there was reference to various elements in our life nowdays but guess the development of the WHOLE FREAKIN MOVIE was too retarded. Come on, the dude holding the camera(jason was it, who cares right) did not even help his friends. they could put more taught into the movie. It didnt help anyone love the movie. Hated the characters. RETARDS. no connection with the audience. Whats with the narration and music like its some b-rate movie. Yeah, im sure someone is going to say its 'created'in a post apocalyptic world but HEY' jason himself wanted to show the truth for what it is bUT IT JUST DONT MAKE SENSE!!! the theme's were good, and the movie hold so much potential..., too bad it wasnt conveyed properly. Guess the only reason why people say its good cause ROMERO DID IT!!! RETARDS!

Posted by awol on May 26, 2009
All in all a pretty good Zombie flick. Romeros still got it. I agree not his best but still a good watch if you love Z movies,

Posted by on November 9, 2009

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