Thursday, October 16, 2014

Film Review: Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Night of the Living Dead (Review)
United States/1990
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"If you can get past these characters ... you're in for a horror treat."

Barbara (Patricia Tallman) and her brother are attacked by a zombie at a remote graveyard. Surviving the attack, Barbara stumbles across an old farmhouse...

Night of the Living Dead continues as Ben (Tony Todd) arrives at the farmhouse. The pair clear out the house of any zombies, and soon find another group of survivors in the cellar. The group decide to barricade the house until they can find the keys to the gas pump and escape. But, the clashing personalities and the difficulties of the situation make the goal seem like a dream. A very simple and straightforward story, Night of the Living Dead leads to a good ending -- it was great to a point, but it also has some issues.

There isn't much to discuss when it comes to the plot. It's a barebones zombie survival film. Fortunately, it has plenty of scares, great suspense, and many thrills. The simple story helps the film flow quickly and fluidly -- it's fast-paced and consistent without cutting any corners and without much filler. The biggest issue with the film are the characters. I should say I appreciate the mere fact that this film bothers to have character, but they ultimately become irritating and even confusing.

You have Barbara, who's hysterical at first, magically turns into Rambo minutes later, and finally hurts the ending with her hypocrisy. You have Cooper, the loudmouthed coward who ruins every plan and never stops nagging. And, you have Tom, who makes one of the stupidest choices I think I've ever seen on film. If you can get past these characters, like I did for the most part, you're in for a horror treat.

The acting is good. I like how Patricia Tallman captures hysteria with her anxious smile. Tony Todd delivers a great performance, too. The film is shot very well; it really stands the test of time, especially in high definition. (really, you should watch the HD print of this film.) The makeup is great. Although the introduction has one person with obvious makeup, the rest of the special effects are fantastic -- I love the old-school effects. Director Tom Savini does well in building suspense and horror, and he makes the film flow -- it's always moving.

Overall, Night of the Living Dead is a great zombie film. The concept and story are simple yet engaging, there is great suspense and horror, and it's very entertaining. The characters can be annoying and stupid at times, but they're tolerable for the most part. If you didn't like the original because it wasn't modern enough or you can't stand black-and-white films, this is a simple yet worthy remake.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some nudity. (there are two zombies with their buttocks exposed briefly.)

No comments:

Post a Comment