Mena Suvari and Ving Rhames try to keep their brains alive in Day Of The Dead.
Day Of The Dead (Peace Arch, 2008) D: Steve Miner, w/ Mena Suvari, Nick Cannon. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN
If you're into brain-dead, you'll enjoy this slick, fast-paced zombie actioner, rich in CG gore and greatly enhanced by hordes of Bulgarian stuntmen slamming their bodies about with incredible vigour. They're the best thing in the movie.
Second best thing is Stark Sands as Bud Crain, the soldier who retains a trace of humanity as he slowly turns zombie. Bud and his squad leader, Sarah (Mena Suvari), are in the small town where the very first zombie outbreak is starting to pop. With another soldier and a couple of civilians, they try to get out.
If the story had focused on Bud and Sarah's mutual attraction, this could have been a great movie, but director Steve Miner (Halloween H20) just wants to get on with the action.
Too bad, because we're currently living in the golden age of zombie movies. Filmmakers have recognized the genre's potential as the new western - a stable form whose powerful central metaphor can accommodate all sorts of content. They're busy exploring. We have zombie flicks as knockabout buddy comedy (Sean Of The Dead), as comment on new media (Diary Of The Dead) and lots more. A living-dead romance could have given Miner and company a proud place in cinema history, not to mention some genuine horror for the viewer. But no.
AnnaLynne McCord, playing one of the civilians, sums it up perfectly in her interview as "a little bit of laughs, a little bit of screams." There are more laughs in the commentary.
EXTRAS Director, editor and cast members commentary; director, makeup designer and leading cast interviews; alternate ending. Widescreen. English, Spanish subtitles.