By Al Kratina
Nov 30, 2006 - 22:29
Here's a quick tip for all 14-year-olds, as well as people in university for creative writing: marijuana does not make movies better. It may make you stupid enough to enjoy a bad movie, but it's not going to turn Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle into anything but the long middle finger to Mothers Against Drunk Driving that it is. You shouldn’t have to be stoned to like a movie. When I get frustrated at the simplistic language and half-baked pop science of a Dan Brown novel, I don't huff half a bottle of modeling glue soaking a sweat-sock until the book gets good. I just put it down. Consequently, putting a crappy movie in 3D will not make it better. And then throwing in a bunch of pot references just makes it worse.
Night of the Living Dead, the 1968 George Romero original, was a brilliant piece of grindhouse horror, making wild statements about communist paranoia and racism while horrifying audiences with graphic depictions of cannibalism and the walking dead. It was also, unfortunately, tied up in rights struggles and quickly fell into the public domain, which meant that any ass with a color printer and a DVD press could sell copies. Plus, you could make a sequel with nothing more than a pro-sumer camcorder and a headful of THC, which is apparently what happened here. Jeff Broadstreet, who has previously blessed the low-budget world with Sexbomb, takes the original script and updates it with some extra nudity and drug references, a little more gore, and a scary text message. To finicky, traditionalist horror fans, this is kind of like adding a rap battle to Gone With The Wind. He's also added the additional element of 3D to the mix, at the expense of more traditional elements like color, action, and any semblance of worth whatsoever.
The film follows Barbara, a young woman traveling to her aunt's funeral with her brother. Once at the cemetery, she discovers that the dead have come back to life, and are feasting upon the script of the original. There's some nonsense about embalming chemicals and mixing medical waste with corpses, and then she's trapped in a farmhouse with some other victims, with things going downhill from there. It may not have been difficult to find an actress more talented than Judith O'Dea, who played Barbara in the original, but it should be noted that Brianna Brown is a significant improvement, and looks enough like Sarah Michelle Gellar to entertain if you've forgotten to clean your contacts. Aside from that, the film doesn't really have much going for it. The 3D does nothing but sap the color from the film and make it difficult to read the credits, and the gore never gets close to being graphic enough to appeal to the film's target audience. Character actor Sid Haig is apparently planning to live off his role in House of 1000 Corpses until he dies, turning in the same performance here, and no one else really distinguishes themselves from the zombies or the rest of the cast. What could have been a dynamic, energetic, rip-off of a good movie has been made into a tired, boring, rip-off of a good movie. And I'm nowhere near high enough to let that slide.
Rating: 4 /10