A group of rogue soldiers seek shelter from the zombie apocalypse on scenic Plum Island, only to become caught up in a bitter feud between two warring families. Sarge Crocket (Alan Van Sprang) and his motley crew of military abandoners are searching for a safe place to rest when they cross paths with Patrick O’Flynn (Kenneth Welsh). O’Flynn has been banished from Plum Island, where his family is locked in a longtime quarrel with the Muldoons. The O’Flynns see the flesh-eaters as subhuman, never hesitating to put a bullet between their eyes; the Muldoons balk at the prospect of killing their gut-munching loved ones, instead opting to care for their rotting kinfolk until scientists find a cure for the undead scourge. As the division between the two families grows deeper and wider, Crocket and his men realize that on Plum Island, the zombies are the least of their worries. (Synopsis from www.rottentomatoes.com)
I am unapologetically a huge George Romero fan. His unholy trio (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead) created the current zombie model. Romero’s most recent addition to his series of zombie films, Survival of the Dead, is supposed to continue the story from the previous movie (Diary of the Dead). The soldiers in previous movie have deserted and gone off on their own in an attempt to find a safe haven with no flesheaters.
Sounds pretty promising, right? Unfortunately, this movie falls flat in delivering everything it promises. One of the main issues I had with the movie is shown in the first 10 minutes. A zombie is shot in the head at point blank distance and the CGI effect is horrible. It looked like something out of an extremely low budget film. It is a disappointing departure for Romero who used to depend wholly on special effects and make up (Tom Savini did the majority of these for Dawn of the Dead). Between the lack of convincing effects and forced acting on the parts of the soldiers, this movie lost its way very early on.
Another issue is that there is nothing to make you sympathize with anyone in the movie. The soldiers are cocky, the kid with them is even cockier, and the people on the island are not sympathetic. I had a lot of issues with the characters. The “tough guy” attitude was overdone and not convincing. Some of the death scenes were almost laughable with how badly these actors could portray dying.
The story itself was lacking. If Romero would have taken more time in developing the feud between the two clans, there might have been a better story along with a plot we, as viewers, could enjoy. As it was, it became a “humans are the worst thing out there” without really making the point as to why. Don’t get me wrong. I love zombies movies because they can be used to epitomize the best and worst of the human race. Zombie Diaries did an excellent job of selling the theme that humanity is it’s own worst enemy. This was a poor attempt at the same.
What does the movie have going for it? There is a plethora of gore when it comes to the zombies attacking the humans. It almost seems like all of the special effects were dedicated to the zombie attacks while the zombie killing scenes were hastily thrown together with poor CGI. The best gore scene is where three zombie tear a guy in half.
I would only recommend this movie for Romero or zombie completists. For those who are not so obsessed with zombie films, this movie will more than likely fall flat in the entertainment department.
Here is the trailer for Survival of the Dead: