By Peter Jurewicz
Not since the movie that started it all “Night of the Living Dead” has George Romero put out such a great zombie film. Other Die-Hard fans may think I’m nuts but I truly believe Diary of the Dead ranks right up there with Night of the Living Dead as one of the best zombie movies ever. Diary has more jumps, scares and general menace of a world gone mad than most of the zombie films of the past several years. Unlike films like the remakes of Romero’s films which are mostly gore-fests with little in the way of character development, Diary keeps you interested in your characters.
Diary of the Dead is set in the same universe as all the “…of the Dead” films, but takes places as a side story to Night of the Living Dead. Using audio clips and news reports about event from the other films it ties in where our story takes place. Our main characters are a group of college students from Pittsburgh who take an RV across Pennsylvania in an attempt to reconnect with their families. Encountering other survivors along the way, it’s almost amazing how Romero portrays the quick deterioration of American society against the arrival of the throngs of the Undead. Like all of Romero’s films, Diary of the Dead has an underlying social commentary. Though in this case there seems to be more small points he’s trying to get across about people as opposed to Dawn of the Dead which was mostly about consumerism. Groups of people become hoarders, others just try to protect their families and loved ones, and even the Military become nothing more than petty thieves. People are quickly forced to give up who they thought they were and become something different.
Diary of the Dead was a great film from beginning to end and I would highly recommend it to any zombie movie fan, or anyone who wants a bit of a scare. Keep an ear out, as well as an eye, for cameos from the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo Del Toro, Simon Pegg and George Romero himself. Do yourself a favor and watch “Survival Of The Dead” after wards, for the simple fact that it seems like a completely different movie in tone from this one and follows some minor characters we encounter in Diary.