15 October 2012

October 15th

Night of the Living Dead (1990) directed by Tom Savini
Though this feels like a step backwards, after Dawn and Day, for the Romero zombie universe, this remake somehow works, anyway.  Though the film keeps the same premise -- people stuck in a farmhouse during a zombie uprising -- it changes up enough of the details to make it interesting.

The largest change is completely reversing Barbara's personality.  This was a near-necessity.  I think the useless, catatonic Barbara from the original would've driven '90s audiences nuts.  I also like that she ends up, more or less, the hero of the piece.  I think it's implied in the original that, even though he seems to be the hero, Ben is actually not handling the situation very well.  The remake makes this very clear, with Barbara's idea to take off running past the slow zombies ending far better than either hiding in a basement or boarding up windows.

The animosity between Ben and Cooper has been amped up quite a bit in this one, so much so that they end up having a full-on gun battle inside the house.  I'm not sure how much I like this.  The stress of such a situation would be intense, but the movie may be pushing things too far.

Both of these changes make Ben a less noble character, which I think was a smart direction to go.  Though he has the most forceful personality of the people stuck in the house, that doesn't necessarily mean he's making the right choices.  You can see the doubt in his eyes when Barbara suggests running off, but I think his personality clash with the other alpha male in the house convinces him to double-down on his initial idea of staying in the house.  Sometimes your gut instinct is wrong.

Watched: blu-ray from Twilight Time.

The Walking Dead 2.02: "Bloodletting" (2011) directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Rick brings the shot Carl to Hershel's farm, where Hershel attempts to save the boy's life.  Hey, we're back in the comic book storyline!  Awesome: the comic usually knows what it's doing better than the TV screenwriters.  Except, I don't remember Carl being in such peril in the comic.  This does make for some good drama and makes sense as an addition to the story.  We end with Otis and Shane running off to the high school to grab a respirator for Carl's needed surgery, the pair trapped by zombies and Carl running out of time.  Not a bad cliffhanger.

The Walking Dead 2.03: "Save the Last One" (2011) directed by Phil Abraham
One of the best episodes of the series so far.  Otis and Shane's adventures in the high school, chased by hordes of zombies, are incredibly tense and well-shot.  A great, oft-overlooked, detail is their complete exhaustion.  How often do you see people in zombie movies who've run from zombies for so long they're about to collapse?  It makes the high school scenes feel so much more desperate.  I also love the arc the plot gives Shane.  Up until the end, I was starting to actually like the guy.  He seemed to be so completely wrecked by Carl's accident and losing Otis at the high school.  I'd still rather have Tyrese from the comics, but at least Shane's extended life is making things interesting.

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