So after fighting tooth and nail, I got my hands on a pair of tickets for George A. Romero's latest - Survival of the Dead, Which made its North American Premier last night at the Toronto International Film Festival. While many here seem to be very critical of his previous works (particularily Day, Land, Diary), I've enjoyed all of his films, though not as much for Land as the others.
Survival was fairly different from Romero's typical film as a lot of the character development occurs around each member of the team saving one another from "Dead-heads" that seem to come from no where. A lot more screen time is dedicated to inventive new ways to kill the zombies - campfire fork, flare gun, fire extinguisher ect.
The storyline is;
On an island just off the coast of Delaware, the O'Flynn/Muldoon family feud heightens when the dead begin to reanimate. One family believes the "Dead-heads" should be exterminated, while the other family believes the deceased are trainable to do daily tasks, as long as they are capable of developing a taste for something besides human flesh.
If you think back to Diary, you will remember the national guard members who raid the camper for all of their supplies but weapons. These are our main characters, along with the members of the island. The members of the guard are looking for somewhere to get away from the former population centers which are now beginning to overflow with the walking dead. on their journey they come across Jamie O'Flynn, family head from the island who is outcast for his beliefs in killing any un-dead. Jamie directs the guard to the island, and in a twist of fate, is forced back with them.
Back on the island, the Guard find that O'Flynn had been directing outbreak survivors to the island, and upon their arrival, they were being shot dead by Muldoon, While the island population who had been turned to zombies were now chained as Muldoon attempted to civilize them to do the occupations of their lives (the mailman walks to the end of his chain, looks back, sees the mailbox he is chained to, walks to the mailbox, reaches in with a hand full of letters, but doesn't let them go, pulls his hand back out, and walks to the end of his chain again). We then see O'Flynn's daughter jump the fence on horseback and ride right past her father and the others without taking notice. O'Flynn instantly accepts that she is infected and there is nothing he can do for her.
On Muldoon's farm, we find him and a rancher caging zombies into horse pens with farm animals, "starving" the zombies to persuade them into eating other meats besides human. By this point [still fairly early in the film] Muldoon realizes he will need O'Flynn's daughter to teach the other zombies they can eat something else.
The third quarter of the film is uneventful besides losing a few characters and one of the members of the national guard being kidnapped by Muldoon's camp and brought back to his farm as bait for the others. As the others come to collect her, Muldoon ends up with the stronger hand and forces his opponents to disarm in order to make O'Flynn watch his daughter be penned in with the horse she had been riding. In a twist of fate, we find that O'Flynn had twin daughters, and one is still alive, She shows up at Muldoon's farm and returns the guns to the her father and the national guard, beginning a fire-fight. Both family heads end up mortally wounded, and most of their family and friends end up dead around them, as well as a swarm of zombies who are attracted to the noise. The living O'Flynn daughter sees a look of longing in her sisters eye, misjudges it for a longing of a loving embrace and practically feeds herself to her sister.
The dying and fighting families carry the fight into the surrounding bush to join the swarms of zombies as they start to turn, leaving the dying O'Flynn daughter to watch her already dead sister slowly stagger towards the horse she is penned with and take a good chunk out of the beasts shoulder. At this the dying sister runs to inform everyone in the change of events, and let them know her father was wrong. As she finds the fleeting national guard, she is halfway through telling them as her father arrives and gives her a gift - his last bullet. No one is informed of the development in zombie culture. The two old Irish families are dead, and the national guard cruise off in search of another island to be safe upon. The film ends with scenes of the remaining zombies feeding on the horse, originally bitten by the O'Flynn daughter, and closes with the image of O'Flynn and Muldoon shambling towards each other. Stop. Raise their empty pistols. *click*.
As I said, I enjoyed the film it was something with a slight variation on a Romero standard, a little less panicked from Diary, and a lot more one-liners than is standard in his films. If you get a chance to see it in films I recommend it.
Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me.Grey