[REVIEW] Day of the Dead (1985) – ManlyMovie

[REVIEW] Day of the Dead (1985)

RHODESRuntime: 96 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: The best damn zombie movie of the 1980s

Romero made four good zombie movies.  There’s the classic first, the second which is arguably even better.  There’s this, then there’s Land of the Dead.  We’ll ignore anything Romero did after that, the less said the better.  I enjoyed watching this movie the first couple of times I seen it – it’s a good film.  Like another film though, Troy, I did find more value in it watching it the third time.  Day of the Dead is a good film taking it as it is, but it’s another film entirely when you realise the army aren’t really the bad guys.  This discovery elevates it from a good movie to a great movie.  You find it can be interpreted, and the antagonists are actually the protagonists.

A group of scientists are held up in an underground bunker with a military unit, we’re supposed to feel for them because the army is a bit aggressive, a bit edgy and pushy.  But by the time the film gets rolling, the scientists have already gotten soldiers needlessly killed, by the time it’s over, not only are ALL of the soldiers dead because of them, but the scientists are fleeing like cowards.  They compromise the tactical security of the base through the pursuit of a failed strategy – their experiments clearly offer nothing in the long run, at the expense of immediate security.  For example, in taking the moral high ground, they compromise both entrances by treating the zombies like pets.  “They’re fucking dead!” argues Rhodes, who is less sympathetic. And he was right.  Eventually it becomes clear that Captain Rhodes displayed extraordinary patience with this bullshit.  He may not have had the all the strategical answers, but he was tactically correct.  They (the scientists) were neither. I now look at it through the eyes of the only man in that bunker – Captain Rhodes.  Protagonist.  Hero.

Even then, if nothing else this is a Romero zombie movie.  While I do enjoy the fact that he fucked up with his anti-military preaching – it backfired in its execution like I said above – this is still a good horror film too.  Romero is the king zombie yarns, then and now.  Everytime he puts his characters in situations, there’s a relaxed yet creepy stillness about his films. And a good feel of claustrophobia.  Shuffling stiffs are the best.  Romero really goes to town with the blood and guts too.  This is something hacks like Paul Anderson should take notice of, with his butchered Resident Evil movies.  Less is more.  One complaint though, I don’t like how Romero had the stiffs evolve and learn.  But that’s something that hurt Land of the Dead more than this movie.

Anyway, next time you watch this:  Spare a thought for Captain Rhodes!