Vlogging the Dead
George Romero, the guy who all but invented zombies (sorry, voodoo witch doctors — you’ve been served), returned with Diary of the Dead (2007), YET ANOTHER entrée to his living dead menu. During an opening sequence that’s both confusing and shockless, we see the dead returning to life, which is what they’re paid to do. This is documented by hand-held cameras, a YouTube™ technique worn as thin as my patience for zombie movies.
A group of college students and an alcoholic, over-enunciating teacher are making a horror movie when they learn the dead are eating the living. They jump into a handy RV and set out to find their families — conveniently located one million miles away. This sets up paint-by-numbers zombie encounters, none of which are particularly graphic, juicily lurid, or inspired. (A deaf Amish farmer fighting off the walking dead? Gimme a break.)
Recording the “action” with a camera that has more battery power than my car, the emotionally-detached student never flinches when he films several of his zombie-bitten friends coming back to life and having his other friends shoot them in the face. In fact, he keeps everything all in frame. And focused. And well-lit.
Predictably, the camera guy gets bitten, so the chick who’s been bitching at him the entire movie to turn the camera off, films him dying then coming back to life. Yep, that’s what we in the industry call situational irony.
The gore is both dumb (handy sword to the head, splitting it like soft coconut) and phoned-in (been there, bit that). The zombies, as dull as they are, have more life in them than the characters. This one should’ve been titled, Diary of the Dud.