A Night of the Living Dead (2014)
Director: Chad Zuver
Written by: Sean Gallagher, Chad Zuver
Starring: Lee Godwin, Rebekka Daniel
Run Time: 79 mins
Whilst visiting the grave of a loved one, Jerry (Godwin) and his daughters, Melanie (Daniel) and Barbra are besieged by the living dead. A race for survival ensues.
I’m going to admit something straight away and please don’t attack me for it! I have never actually watched the original Night of the Living Dead or it’s 1990 remake, it is shocking I know! They are both on my list of films to see and I will eventually get around to watching them…one day. What I do know though, is how culturally important they are, especially the George A. Romero original.
I was planning to watch the original before viewing this remake/re-imagining so I could compare them but I then decided that I would simply judge this version on it’s own merits.
So where do I begin? Well this is being touted as a microbudget remake and boy does it show! The film feels like a student film, that’s the only way I can describe it really. Now I wouldn’t normally consider this a bad thing (having once been a student filmmaker myself) but when a film is being shown in a limited number of cinemas in the US and being sold on DVD well then you expect a bit more bang for your buck.
Everything about the film feels amateur, the cinematography and camera work is poor, with jittery pans, awkward camera angles and shots sometimes out of focus. The sound is incredibly distracting, at points you can actually hear the camera and microphone being fiddled with behind the scenes and the music is no better, often feeling out of place with what is happening on screen.
The acting isn’t much better I’m afraid, most of the human cast are wooden and the way these characters interact with each other is pretty painful to watch at times. The lumbering zombies don’t fare well either and a lot of the time they come across as being unintentionally hilarious.
The effects are pretty hit and miss too; some of the prosthetics looks quite impressive while other make-up effects seem shoddy and rushed.
It’s not all bad though; there are references and homages to the original, it’s filmed in black and white like the original, it includes some of the same characters and settings too and of course it has the famous “They’re coming to get you Barbara!” line.
I don’t want to be a complete killjoy here and I certainly don’t want to dishearten any budding amateur filmmakers, being one myself. To be fair to the filmmakers, it is no mean feat to recreate such a high calibre genre classic with such a miniscule budget; in fact it’s a completely gargantuan task and although this is a valiant effort it just doesn’t pay off at all. If I were you I would stick to George A. Romero’s 1968 classic or Tom Savini’s 1990 remake, in fact I may have to go watch them both right now!